In advance of the fourth Sunday in Lent, Allyssa McNeal shares theological and personal reflections on the correlating Lectionary texts.
Seeking a way out Numbers 21:4-9
The Israelites were grumpy and growing impatient like many of us during this Lenten season in the midst of a global pandemic. Moses was tasked with keeping them encouraged and leading them to the promised land. Upon my initial reading of this Old Testament text it appears at first glance the Israelites, like many of us, are struggling to find the good in the midst of trying times. We often forget about the basics God is still providing: food, shelter, clothing, health, and loved ones who care about us while we wait. During this Lenten season, I am awaiting the arrival of my first child who is due to arrive in late April. I think about the injustices I endure as an African-American woman with cerebral palsy during these pandemic times. I fight on, seeking reproductive justice as I strive to beat the disparaging statistics that say African American birthing persons are likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth if they do not have a health care provider who resembles them. In this season of waiting, I encourage each of you to advocate for yourself and others.
Refreshed through Christ Ephesians 2:1-10
In this time of pandemic restrictions and lockdowns, so many of us just want to be loved. Paul’s writing shows us that God sent his son not to condemn us for the choices we make that are outside of God’s will but to redeem and restore us. Ephesians verses 4-6 remind us that God is full of mercy and brings us to life through Christ. Despite the many lives lost due to Covid 19 we are to remain hopeful because the scripture in Ephesians reminds us that we are redeemed and refreshed through Christ.
Truth, Light, and Love John 3:14-21
Often with the text noted above, we focus on verse 16, ”For God so loved the world…” While true, God loves all of us and gave his son’s life for each of us, what comes after that is particularly meaningful in these challenging times. Jesus reminds us he came not to judge the world but rather that the world would be saved through Christ. We are also reminded throughout this text that whoever does the truth comes to light, and that light is evident through their actions and is done in God. So with that in mind, Jesus shows us that as we strive to fight for justice we are able to do these things in God. As a woman with Cerebral Palsy, this particular text speaks to me because it gives me the courage to keep going in this time of waiting because what is done in truth will come to light. It helps me to remember Christ is not here to judge me and others but rather to encourage each of us to speak boldly sharing the light of Christ, spreading Christ’s light. In this time of waiting, I encourage each of you to share Christ’s light as we are often the only light some people may encounter. Walk boldly as we seek to live in truth.
You make our collective work possible by your witness for justice every day in your church, community, and Annual Conference. MFSA does not receive any financial support from the United Methodist Church’s giving channels. 100% of our budget is funded through your membership dues and your generosity in giving.