Home > Reading > Daily Reading – February 26, 2023

First Sunday in Lent

We live by a creek. It is not unusual while sipping my morning coffee to see a deer out my front window drinking from the flowing stream. The stream that flows past my front window is, in part, fed by a flowing artesian well on our farm. It is really hard water that makes it very good at quenching thirst. I grew up drinking from the stock tank, but I had to teach my kids that water from a flowing artesian well that arises from the deep is good, but stagnant water is bad. A flowing well is living water.Sometimes, we can spend much time and effort speaking about God or about Jesus, as though such a concept is the same as the Gospel. We can do the same thing with theological concepts such as “justification.” But, as a deer pants for flowing streams, so too I find that I don’t just want to hear about God, about Jesus, about justification — as good and helpful as those descriptions are to a faith seeking understanding. Along with the psalmist, I thirst for the living God and His living Word. This drives us beyond philosophy, or even theology, to hear a living word from a living God.
The psalmist writes, “My soul thirsts for God,” but quickly adds, “for the living God.” And then the psalmist goes on to lament not being able to come to worship: “When shall I come and appear before God?” Or, more graphically, “come and see the face of God.” So we have some clues about how this thirst for the living God is quenched.
It is quenched by a living Word that we hear addressed to us — most often in hearing the Word proclaimed and preached and promised. “Where is your God?” In heaven, behind the atom, in my neighbor? They all seem so hidden. In water, bread, wine? Yes, but with the Word! A word for you! “You are forgiven, I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
The baptismal font in the chapel at the college I attended has always inspired me. It appeared to well up from the depths to flow over the sides of the font, reminiscent of the words from Revelation 21, “To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.” The flowing nature of the water reminds me that faith is never stagnant because the mercies of God are ever flowing. The water is life and gives life, and quenches thirst.
Psalm 42 continues with this evocative image, “Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.” Deep calls to deep. Perhaps that is the call of Lent in this discipline of devotions.
And so, I will close with one of my favorite songs from our youth gathering here in Canada back in 2015 under the theme, “Deeper.” It is by Bebo Norman and Jason Ingram entitled, Bring Me to Life. If you know it, let it be a sung prayer.

Prayer: “I am a barren land and it’s all I can do to stand. I am thirsty, I am thirsty. Father, reach out your hand. I have given all that I can, still I’m sinking, I’m still sinking. I want to run into the deep and let the deep call out to me. I want to lose myself in your love. So let it rain down over me as I fall down to my knees. Let the ocean rise to meet me, I need you to bring me to life.
Well of eternal things, endless is all the life you bring. Be the water that I long for. And show me your kingdom come, Father, and let your will be done here in me as it is in heaven. I want to run into the deep and let the deep call out to me.”
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Baptism and those who proclaim your Word. Amen.

Devotion written by The Rev. Kevin Ree

“Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, Missionary to India, 1719”, “Florence Li Tim-Oi, First Female Priest in the Anglican Communion, 1944”

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After several challenging years in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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