Daily Lenten Devotional – April 3, 2020

To the Church in Exile, 
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today’s meditation is from Lynne Baab:  

God’s peace to you. The other night I had a vivid dream with a clear message from God. In the dream, my husband Dave and I had two houseguests, people very dear to us, and they wanted pancakes for breakfast. I assembled all the ingredients, got into our car, and drove to a telephone booth. I got the ingredients out of the car and as I approached the pay phone, I realized this was the wrong place to cook pancakes.
When I got back home, our guests had left. Dave told me they had gotten a call about a family emergency. I stood there bereft, longing to see them. I realized I had wasted time driving to the pay phone when I could have been talking to them.
Dave and I are one month into pretty strict self-isolation because he has a chronic lung disease. We started earlier than most people, and what a month of intense and varied emotions it has been. When I woke up after my dream, God seemed to be saying to me that I’m trying to organize and plan my way through a situation that simply has to be lived with. Trying to plan is as effective as cooking pancakes at a telephone booth.
God’s voice in the dream parallels 2 Corinthians 4:6-10, a passage in the lectionary for today:
“For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.”
The treasure in the clay jar is the Gospel – “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” I am a clay jar, an ordinary container for everyday use, holding something amazing. Every time I try to be in charge of my life, as I have tried too often in the past month, I am as effective as someone trying to cook pancakes in a phone booth. In the dream, I missed out on time with friends. The light God gives us through the Gospel is profoundly relational. In this strange and challenging time, what matters is time with family members and friends: Jesus our friend, the people we live with, others we can contact by phone or Facetime, and those we can pray for.
The Apostle Paul uses language I can relate to. He says he is afflicted but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair. Every part of my being resists being afflicted and perplexed. I want to run off to phone booths to escape those feelings. Instead, Paul affirms that in some strange and challenging way, we have to be willing to carry in our body the death of Jesus in order to experience his life in us. This is really hard. Covid-19 has given us a powerful chance to learn how to do it better.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your companionship in these bizarre times. Enable us to experience your presence with us. Help us to see the ways you are keeping us from being crushed and driven to despair. Teach us more about how to be your disciples. Help us to enter into your death so we can experience your life. Help us to shine your light into the world. Help us to love.
Peace in Christ,


Lynne Baab
Former Bethany Associate Pastor
Currently a writer and teacher (lynnebaab.com)

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