Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

God in Glory (Exodus 40:34–38)

Daily Lenten Reflection - Thursday, 2 March 2017

Week 1: The Mission of God

Week 1, Day 2

From a hymn by Bishop Thomas Ken, 1637–1711

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise him, all creatures here below;

Praise him above, ye heav’nly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

God in Glory (Exodus 40:34–38)

Paulo Ueti, Anglican, South America

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel at each stage of their journey.

I would like to start this humble reflection by quoting two passages that lift up my spirit and compel me to move forward:

The glory of God is a living human being; and the life of a human being consists in beholding God (Irenaeus of Lyon, Against Heresies, Book 4, 20:7, Gloria Dei vivens homo, vita autem hominis, visio Dei). 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:2).

Creation is the horizon and the locus of God’s mission—in the past, the present and the future. The outcome of God’s passion is broken and existence itself is jeopardized. As people of faith we must not be mute or passive in light of the reality we face daily: increasing inequality; impoverishment; violence; discrimination; exclusion and their consequences. God’s name and theological discourse are frequently used to justify these.

Our faith is always “praxis”—(ora et labora—prayer and action). We try to read the signs of the times, reflect on our faith and values and act accordingly to fulfill the deep desire to experience God in glory. Throughout history we have learned from God’s experience, passed on through biblical texts and great testimonies:

to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow (Isa 1:17).

and

let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord (Jer 9:24).

Our faith moves us to this direction and calls us to continue to pursue the passionate (Song of Songs) and transformative (Prophetic tradition) desire to be the parable of the kingdom in the midst of desperation and destruction. Hope strengthens our stubbornness to keep moving with others, never alone, despite the peculiar context in which we live. God in God’s glory has revealed to us the capacity within us to change and to be changed. This is our calling. It is expressed by our deep commitment in our hearts, thoughts, discourses (theologies) and actions (mission/development)—ora et labora—to work toward revealing the will of God and to eradicate poverty, violence, discrimination, privileges, loneliness and every system that oppresses humanity and nature.

By the unlimited mercy and grace of God, let us be blessed and empowered to keep moving together in love as one in diversity.

“On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee has compiled a collection of Lenten reflections to commemorate the anniversary. The text can be used by small groups or individual, as a Lenten reading or as a resource for the weeks between Easter and Trinity Sunday. We are sharing these reflections daily during Lent, hoping that our common experience of God’s grace may draw our two families of churches closer together in this extraordinary year, and be used beyond 2017 and actually at any time.”