Wednesday of the Week of Lent V
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:5-11)
Additional Daily Bible Readings: Exodus 10:1–18; Psalm 76; Romans 8:1–17
Weekly Reading: http://bit.ly/2Dg9nUZ
This second half of Lent, with readings from Romans, may be more theology than you’ve ever read in your life! It may be too much, too wordy, too “heavy” with theological thoughts, arguments and reasoning. I hope you’re staying with it, because it is a most profitable endeavor as we approach Holy Week and Easter. What is Paul talking about in this letter to the congregation in Rome but our sin, our inability to save ourselves and the meaning and message of Jesus’ death and resurrection? By his death he saved us from death, and by his resurrection he gives new life to our mortal bodies through his Spirit, who dwells in us.
Without Paul’s deep meditation on sin and grace, the events of Holy Week can seem like just another story. Without Paul’s theological reflection on God’s saving acts through Jesus, his Son, we might hear the account of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection as only history. With these verses of Paul, we can approach Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday aware that this is our history, our life, our salvation, the path to our new life, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit who now dwell in us. If we walk with Jesus through Holy Week detached, disinterested and cold toward his suffering and death, we are surely not understanding that these events tell the story of our relationship with God and how that relationship is made new daily by Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
We are now just a few days from entering the Great and Holy Week. If you haven’t gone deeply into these readings from Paul, take time to go back and read them again, praying and meditating on Paul’s valuable conversation with the Romans about the nature of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God’s activity to redeem us from our sins, win our salvation and give us new lives of hope and peace.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for your servant, Paul, and his epistle to the Romans. Amen.
Lenten Response: As you have time, go back and read Romans 1:1-8:17.
Video Devotional: From Ashes to Easter
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.