Saturday in the Fifth Week of Lent

Gathering or Scattering?

The Prophet Ezekiel foretold of a time when God would gather his people together in one everlasting kingdom:

Thus says the Lord God: I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from every quarter, and bring them to their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all. Never again shall they be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms. They shall never again defile themselves with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. I will save them from all the apostasies into which they have fallen, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God.   (Ezekiel 37:21–23)

God is the One who gathers his people together. He is the One who preserves them as a nation.  How is it that those who claim to represent God fear that his actions will divide the nation when it is their actions that divide a nation? This was the case concerning the chief priests and the Pharisees in the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry:

So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, “What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.”   (John 11:47-48)

This type of thinking demonstrates how Satan works. Divide and conquer. Are we, as Christians, aiding and abetting him? Who is sewing division among us and why?

In Jesus’s day the chief priests and the Pharisees acted out of fear. Their fear, however, was based on a false narrative: God will bring division among his own people. Fear, itself, brings division. That is why Satan sews fear. Our fear leads us to condemn others and falsely accuse them of the problems which we ourselves cause.

Fear stems from unbelief. Faith in a loving God dispels fear. Perfect love casts out fear.

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Filed under Jesus, lectionary, Lent, Lenten daily readings, Lenten study, Revised Common Lectionary, Year A

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