A Story to Embody: Lent & The Annuciation of Our Lord

Jeremiah 31:31-34
Look, the time is coming," says the Lord,
"when I will make a new agreement
with the people of Israel
and the people of Judah.
It will not be like the agreement
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to bring them out of Egypt.
I was a husband to them,
but they broke that agreement," says the Lord.
"This is the agreement I will make
with the people of Israel at that time," says the Lord:
"I will put my teachings in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
People will no longer have to teach their neighbors and relatives
to know the Lord,
because all people will know me,
from the least to the most important," says the Lord.
"I will forgive them for the wicked things they did,
and I will not remember their sins anymore."

Psalm 119:9-16
How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I'm single-minded in pursuit of you;
don't let me miss the road signs you've posted.
I've banked your promises in the vault of my heart
so I won't sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
train me in your ways of wise living.
I'll transfer to my lips
all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
I attentively watch how you've done it.
I relish everything you've told me of life,
I won't forget a word of it.

Hebrews 5:5-10
4-6No one elects himself to this honored position. He's called to it by God, as Aaron was. Neither did Christ presume to set himself up as high priest, but was set apart by the One who said to him, "You're my Son; today I celebrate you!" In another place God declares, "You're a priest forever in the royal order of Melchizedek."
7-10While he lived on earth, anticipating death, Jesus cried out in pain and wept in sorrow as he offered up priestly prayers to God. Because he honored God, God answered him. Though he was God's Son, he learned trusting-obedience by what he suffered, just as we do. Then, having arrived at the full stature of his maturity and having been announced by God as high priest in the order of Melchizedek, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who believingly obey him.

John 12:20-33
There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at the Feast. They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee: "Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?"
22-23Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip together told Jesus. Jesus answered, "Time's up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24-25"Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal.
26"If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you'll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment's notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.
27-28"Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? 'Father, get me out of this'? No, this is why I came in the first place. I'll say, 'Father, put your glory on display.'"
A voice came out of the sky: "I have glorified it, and I'll glorify it again."
29The listening crowd said, "Thunder!"
Others said, "An angel spoke to him!"
30-33Jesus said, "The voice didn't come for me but for you. At this moment the world is in crisis. Now Satan, the ruler of this world, will be thrown out. And I, as I am lifted up from the earth, will attract everyone to me and gather them around me." He put it this way to show how he was going to be put to death.

The Annunciation of Our Lord

Isaiah 7:10-14
Then the Lord spoke to Ahaz again, saying,11 "Ask for a sign from the Lord your God to prove to yourself that these things are true. It may be a sign from as deep as the place of the dead or as high as the heavens."
12 But Ahaz said, "I will not ask for a sign or test the Lord."
13 Then Isaiah said, "Ahaz, descendant of David, listen carefully! Isn't it bad enough that you wear out the patience of people? Do you also have to wear out the patience of my God?14 The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and she will name him Immanuel.

Psalm 45

My heart bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness.
I pour it out in a poem to the king,
shaping the river into words:

2-4 "You're the handsomest of men;
every word from your lips is sheer grace,
and God has blessed you, blessed you so much.
Strap your sword to your side, warrior!
Accept praise! Accept due honor!
Ride majestically! Ride triumphantly!
Ride on the side of truth!
Ride for the righteous meek!

4-5 "Your instructions are glow-in-the-dark;
you shoot sharp arrows
Into enemy hearts; the king's
foes lie down in the dust, beaten.

6-7 "Your throne is God's throne,
ever and always;
The scepter of your royal rule
measures right living.
You love the right
and hate the wrong.
And that is why God, your very own God,
poured fragrant oil on your head,
Marking you out as king
from among your dear companions.

8-9 "Your ozone-drenched garments
are fragrant with mountain breeze.
Chamber music—from the throne room—
makes you want to dance.
Kings' daughters are maids in your court,
the Bride glittering with golden jewelry.
10-12 "Now listen, daughter, don't miss a word:
forget your country, put your home behind you.
Be here—the king is wild for you.
Since he's your lord, adore him.
Wedding gifts pour in from Tyre;
rich guests shower you with presents."

13-15 (Her wedding dress is dazzling,
lined with gold by the weavers;
All her dresses and robes
are woven with gold.
She is led to the king,
followed by her virgin companions.
A procession of joy and laughter!
a grand entrance to the king's palace!)

16-17 "Set your mind now on sons—
don't dote on father and grandfather.
You'll set your sons up as princes
all over the earth.
I'll make you famous for generations;
you'll be the talk of the town
for a long, long time."

Photo courtesy of Melanie Guest Photography

For more on why I include these weekly readings see A Story to Embody.

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