2 Lent, Year A: Motion and Stasis

Sunday’s Readings | March 5, 2023

Gen. 12:1-4a
Ps. 121
Rom. 4:1-5, 13-17
John 3:1-17

We have been called, and we have responded in the obedience of faith. Still, we may from time to time go astray, and so the calling must be renewed, and the response reinvigorated. With penitent hearts and steadfast faith, we are called to Jesus Christ over and over again. That is, we are called to the unchangeable truth of the eternal Word of the Father (the collect). It began, we know, with the calling of Abram: “Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him” (Gen. 12:1-4a).

Likewise, we are called to leave everything in pursuit of a new homeland, Jesus Christ our Lord. And because Jesus Christ is an inexhaustible treasure, the search and the quest never end. For whatever we have in Christ is but a foretaste of impending discovery. To live in Christ, to be moved and animated by his Spirit, is to float on the current of wind-like grace, rising and falling, ascending and descending like the Son of Man between heaven and earth. We live by faith, not by sight. “The Lord himself watches over [us]” (Ps. 121:5). Carried by grace, we are born from above (John 3:7). We are, as St. Paul says, a new creation.

The Spirit of Christ is like the wind, yet Christ is a rock. The Christian life is both fluid and firm; it is motion by the prompting of grace and grounding in vocation by that same grace. If we move with Christ in the Spirit, we must also learn to stay with him in the vocation to which we have been set.

Keeping our journey with Christ, we might consider the question of the rich young man who approached Jesus. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Matt. 19:16; Mark 10:17; Luke 18:18). Jesus directs him to the Ten Commandments and then further requests that he sell all that he has and give it to the poor. The man walks away sorrowfully. In a sense, the man’s question must still be raised by every disciple. Not “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” but “What must I do in response to the gift of eternal life?”

Again, the Ten Commandments are a guide, of which the two Great Commandments are a summary. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (BCP, p. 324). In these commandments, we find work in motion and stasis, spontaneity and unwavering commitment.

How does it work, this new life from above? Aided by St. Augustine, we might notice that “Love of God is first in the order of commanding; the love of neighbor is, however, first in the order of doing” (Tract 17 on St. John). “Because, however, you do not yet see God, by loving your neighbor, you gain whom you would see. … Carry therefore him with whom you walk that you may arrive to him with whom you desire to remain.”

Walk in your bounden duty and stay with Christ.

LOOK IT UP: Romans 4:17

THINK ABOUT IT: In daily work, however difficult or confusing, God gives life to the dead, calling into existence things that do not exist. Press on!


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