A Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent
By Rev. Williadean Crear
Lectionary Reading for 3/5/2023: Genesis 12:1-4a; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; John 3:1-17; Matthew 17:1-9
Selected Passage: Romans 4:1-5;13-17
Romans 4:1-5;13-17 NASB
4 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, the wages are not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness
13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the Law are heirs, then faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. 16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 (as it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, that is, God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that do not exist.
Paul recounts, for the Jews in Rome, Abraham’s journey into faith and righteousness. Abraham’s not seeing what God is talking about, yet believing what God says and it pleases God. Abraham’s weighing God’s promise against all he has ever known and going with God who “calls into being things that do not exist” is the only basis for his faith being counted to him as righteousness. The keepers of the law wanted to blend works into the way of Jesus in order to continue to appear righteous. Paul reminded them that Abraham’s faith credited to him as righteousness happened before the law was written. He verbally removed their façade of righteousness through the law by retelling Abraham’s story of faith.
I had to believe God when I left Birmingham to live in Chicago in order to complete my Masters in Divinity (MDiv). Chicago is very unlike Birmingham. Chicago was one of my stops on the way to chaplaincy. I had to let go of all that was familiar in order to grow spiritually. My family and friends thought it was an extreme move, but I believed God (with a certain amount of trepidation).
Lent is a time of self-imposed discipline for the sake of spiritual growth. It is a season of time to take our eyes off of what we see as necessary and focus on the self-imposed discipline of Christ who for our sakes left his throne. In this season, we sit in silence and sacrifice waiting for God to reveal what is necessary for following Jesus to the death. How did Jesus stay in the wilderness? How did the promise sustain him?
As we discipline ourselves in our chosen ways this Lenten season, we remember Abraham following the call of God into the unknown, on a promise. We remember that our righteousness does not come from our doing for God but from our believing and responding to the promises of God. What has God “called into being” for us? God called into being Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. What dead thing is God calling to life for you? What non-existent thing has God called forth in you that will come into existence?
Lord, help us to love your promises as much as we love that which is familiar to us. Help us to trust and depend on your word as much as we defend that which we hold onto. Thank you that you have a place, a purpose, and a plan for us in your Kingdom building.
About the Author
Williadean was born and raised in Birmingham, AL. She worked for 27 years as an x-ray technologist at UAB Hospital. She retired and then received a BA in Biblical Studies from Southeastern Bible College. She received an MDiv and ordination from North Park Theological Seminary. She earned a certificate in Family Systems Theory at The Center for Family Consultation in Evanston, IL. She is now a Chaplain at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham. She is a member of New Life Covenant Church in Atlanta, GA. She is passionate about the Bride of Christ, the Church, being ready for his return. She believes when we prepare the Bride of Christ one family at a time through repairing family rifts, restoring broken hearts and minds, reconciling one to another, then we are better able to be the Bride Christ is coming for. Williadean splits her time between work, her quilting group, writing, and family of two sons and four grandchildren. She has written three books, Anika and Her New Body, Letters from the Bride of Christ, and Biblical Heroes and the Families That Formed Them. To receive a copy of either or connect email firstname.lastname@example.org