- Genesis 12:1-4a
- Psalm 121
- Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
- John 3:1-17
Since baptism and Lent are all about conversion, the themes for the five Sundays of Lent also provide us with a process of “conversion therapy,” a term used by Aidan Kavanagh to describe the purpose behind the catechumenate. As we move through the season and Holy Week, we first turn away from evil and toward Jesus Christ (Lent 1 and 2). This week’s lessons continue the conversion process as we recognize those who put their trust in God (which also resonates in today’s Psalm).
A reflection from H. King Oehmig (Understanding the Sunday Scriptures, Year A. 2007: ReadMark Press):
He stood for respectable religion at its best. His behavior must have been above reproach. His reputation must have been built around an array of theological degrees that were the envy of many. He was a man who knew the importance of the position he held, and did not want to jeopardize it. Perhaps that is why Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night – the only person in the Gospels to have done so.
Call it the “Gospel by flashlight.” When his wife and kids are fast asleep, and the dogs are put up for the night, Nicodemus tiptoes down the hallway and out the door – hopping on a bicycle and heading into the dark. Whatever the consequences of being seen with a renegade rabbi – and one from a hick town, out of which nothing good can come (John 1:46) – Nicodemus is not deterred. He takes the “leap of faith.”
Oscar Wilde once remarked that there were two tragedies in life. One was not to get what one wanted. The other was to get it. Maybe that is why Nicodemus came to Jesus. He had gotten all he wanted in life – and found himself asking, “Is this it?”
Later, Nicodemus would come “out of the closet” and contribute, along with Joseph of Arimathea, a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes to anoint the dead body of Jesus (John 19:38-41). Which leads one to believe that whatever happened that night between him and Jesus, it must have been enough for Nicodemus to find out what it meant to be “born again.”
The Baptismal Rite (BCP 302-303): Turning and accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord.
- Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior?
- Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love? Do you promise to follow and obey him as your Lord?
- Ash Wednesday (prayerbookguide.wordpress.com)