Tuesday in the Fifth Week of Lent

by John Laubach

John R. Laubach

John R. Laubach
October 12, 1954 – March 2, 2012

Exodus 5:1-6:1
Psalms 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126
1 Corinthians 14:20-33a,39-40
Mark 9:42-50

“Who is the Lord that I should heed his voice…?”

Pharaoh arrogantly posed this question to Moses and Aaron in the pages of Exodus. Yet one might consider its relevance in our lives today. Throughout the millennia, most of humanity has made their relationship with God at once both ambiguous and ambivalent.

Today’s lections attempt to explicate the relational nature of humankind with our Creator and also to focus our attention on its bifurcated state. God’s intent seems quite explicit as evidenced by the verse from Psalm 121, “The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in from this time forth for evermore.” The incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ served to further clarify the depth of God’s love and concern for us. The Pauline and Marcan exhortations against causing another to sin and not allowing everyone to have their rightful place in the corporate church are meant to help us “keep on track” in our relationship with God.

Let us therefore attempt each day to get closer in relationship to our Heavenly Father and to “be at peace with one another.” (Mark 9:50)

One Response to Tuesday in the Fifth Week of Lent

  1. Derek Baker says:

    I remember the first time we did this Lenten Devotional at Ascension. It was a new idea for all of us, so we had to drum up participation because no one had put something like this together at our church (that we or anyone could remember). A few days into Lent, I ran into John on Bleecker around 10th St. He told me that he had been offended when he got a copy of the booklet on Ash Wednesday, wondering why he hadn’t been asked to write something. After all, he said he finally complained to a few people after burning on this resentment for a few days, “wasn’t his contribution just as worthwhile? Were they afraid he’d write something to offend everyone?” Finally, he said Garrett turned to him and said, “Oh, you a******, they’ve been up there during the announcements every Sunday begging people to sign up!”

    I love that he told this story on himself. Not only did it acknowledge our shared “appreciation” for how congregational dynamics, shall we say, so often work, but reminds me now of how he could be both funny and self-effacing at the same time. That was 15 years ago, at a time I was still too fearful to be myself or even admit who I was to myself. Throughout his 40s and 50s, John continued to make me laugh at the limits of self-absorption and to demonstrate how much more liberating and powerful self-awareness can be than self-justification.

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