Hitting the halfway point in our Lenten journey, we find ourselves confronted with the wonder of God’s work of new creation and the extraordinary gift of forgiveness on which it’s based. We are invited to consider the question of whether we are willing to both receive and embody the reconciling, unifying forgiveness that God uses to create God’s people.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 A change of perception that aligns with God’s new reality. Cosmic reconciliation means that we are reconciled with each other as well. And we see how humans lie at the heart of the whole biblical story: God transforms us and God’s lovingkindness for the world are embodied in us.
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 The classic story of God’s lavish forgiveness—and our slowness to receive it for ourselves or extend it to others. The father’s embrace of a “far off” son is a manifestation of new creation and asks us to examine our own tribalism and preference for those who are close. Then there are the names: how do the characters name themselves and each other? The father holds the family together as family.
Joshua 5:9-12 A paradoxical provision: in the place where there seems to be food, people have to be more deeply involved. And, we’re deeply dependent upon the social structure and everyone playing their part fairly.
Psalm 32 A penitential psalm that reminds us that sin is real and that our understanding is only partial. And we see a reflection of the reality that sitting on our sin, and hiding in our shame and guilt, is destructive. Then, as usual, we see how the psalm draws us back and forth between the world God promises and the world we experience day by day.
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Scott MacDougall (Ph.D., Fordham University) is Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, CA. His research centers on ecclesiology and eschatology. He is interested in the difference a robust theological imagination of the future makes in how Christian community is lived out, both in the church itself and in the wider world. His first book, More Than Communion: Imagining an Eschatological Ecclesiology, was published in 2015 and was the subject of a Homebrewed Christianity interview with Tripp Fuller. MacDougall has also published several articles and reviews and has contributed to online publications such as Religion Dispatches and the Huffington Post’s Religion section. Follow him on Twitter at @scottmacdoug
Daniel Kirk is a writer, speaker, blogger, and New Testament professor who lives in San Francisco, CA. He holds a Ph.D. in New Testament from Duke University and is the author of a pair of books, Unlocking Romans: Resurrection and the Justification of God and Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul? His third book A Man Attested by God: the Human Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels, is off to the printers. He blogs regularly at StoriedTheology.com (http://patheos.com/blogs/storiedtheology). You can follow him on Twitter @jrdkirk and on Facebook at Facebook.com/jrdkirk.