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A Strange, Marvelous, and Wonderful Sign
Preparing for the Sixth Sunday in Lent (Passion/Palm Sunday), Three Days before Sunday (Year C)
Psalter: Psalm 31:9-16
Old Testament: Isaiah 53:10-12
Epistle: Hebrews 2:1-9
God of wilderness and water, your Son was baptized and tempted as we are. Guide us through this season, that we may not avoid struggle, but open ourselves to blessing, through the cleansing depths of repentance and the heaven-rending words of the Spirit. Amen.
Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors Isaiah 53:12).
As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone (Hebrews 2:8c-9).
God has erected a strange, marvelous, and wonderful sign in the world, where we all can find him—I mean the cross of Jesus Christ, the cross of the suffering love of God. Under the cross of Christ we know that we all belong to one another, tht we are brothers and sisters in the same need and in the same hope, that we are bound together by the same destiny, human beings with all our suffering and all our joys, with sorrows and with desires, with disappointments and fulfillments—and most important, human beings with our sin and guilt, with our faith and hope. Before the cross of Christ and his inconceivable suffering all our external differences disappear, we are no longer rich or poor, wise or simple, good or bad; we are no longer Americans or Germans, we are one large congregation.
Let us look at the love of Christ, who without guilt bore the cross. Why? Because he had loved his people more than himself. And then let us consider our own feebleness and our own want of courage, our anxiety when sorrow and grief threaten, our selfish desire to live a comfortable and carefree life. In profound and serious humility we Christian people must confess that we are not worthy of the great love of God.
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Lenten Meditations
My favorite Bonhoeffer book is Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian in Community. Check it out here.