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Bible Study: Lent 2 (B) – February 25, 2024

February 25, 2024

LCR: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22:22-30; Romans 4:13-25; Mark 8:31-38

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

The one thing Abram has wanted since receiving the promise from God that he would be the father of many nations is an heir, but things are starting to look bleak on that front. At first, without children of his own, Abram thinks his slave Eliezer, who oversaw his household, might end up being the heir. But God tells him that his heir will be his biological son. Abram and Sarai then decide to help God along with that plan, and they have Sarai’s slave, Hagar, conceive and bear a son with Abram. But Hagar takes her son and runs away because of Sarai’s resentment. And that brings us to our text today. In the wake of these stumbling and failed ways – Abram has tried to finesse the promise so that it makes sense given his and Sarai’s ages – God shows up and demonstrates God’s faithfulness by renewing the promise and then inviting Abram and Sarai anew to trust in God’s ability to provide.

  • Have you brought something to God in prayer that you really wanted? How did God respond to you?
  • How do you live your faithfulness to God? How are you sustained in that faithfulness?

Psalm 22:22-30

The verses from Psalm 22 appointed for today come after the psalmist has spent the first 21 verses crying out to God in despair and pleading for deliverance. The psalmist can do this because they recall that the Holy One has always been faithful, delivering their ancestors when, in trust, they also cried out in despair. It is by recalling God’s faithfulness in the past that we can now join our voices with the great multitude through all time who cry out in praise of God’s saving deeds – those who fear God; those who worship God; those who seek God; all the families of the nations; all those who sleep in the earth; and all our descendants yet to be born.

  • Can you recall moments in your personal history where God may have been at work responding to your need?
  • What does praising God look like as you walk through your day-to-day activities?

Romans 4:13-25

Our text from Romans offers us something of a Christological exegesis of today’s reading from Genesis. God’s promise to Abraham was an invitation into a loving relationship based on faith. God offered Abraham a vision of his place in history and promised to provide the means to achieve it – an heir. Abraham’s attempts to make that promise come true before he and Sarah were too old to have children, however, represent our need to wrangle matters of faith into logical systems of progression (i.e., laws).

Such a wrangling may seem to secure the promise, but if Abraham had succeeded it would have precluded the action of grace that guarantees the fulfillment of the promise to all his descendants regardless of one’s ability to abide by the law. Abraham has (and therefore we have) been saved from that fate by God’s faithfulness that inspired the same in him. Faith is a divine gift that comes despite external evidence to the contrary. We Christians renew that gift of faith today not by anything we do nor by following any laws that might make us worthy, but by professing our belief in God who raised Jesus from the dead.

  • Have you ever found it hard to stay true to your faith? What helps strengthen your faith?
  • How have you experienced God’s grace and blessing in your life?

Mark 8:31-38

A fundamental aspect of the Christian life is that in small and sometimes big ways it will always include rejection and suffering. The preaching of a gospel of love that seeks to restore all people to unity with God and each other will (must?) bring you into conflict with the powers that be who maintain control by sowing division. On a personal level, opening yourself up to love another more deeply requires that you let go of any idea of a stable and secure existence in favor of the unpredictability and profound joy of an authentic, vulnerable human relationship. When we follow Jesus, in small or large ways we will suffer, though never for the sake of suffering but always in service of God’s healing and reconciling love.

  • If it is your practice to fast during Lent, how does your fast this year open you up to love more profoundly?
  • Are there perspectives you hold that give you a sense of security or stability that you might reconsider?
  • In the context of great challenges today like climate change or prolonged and deadly military conflicts, how might “taking up your cross” look now?

Rev. Ben “Simon” Dinglasan, Jr., lives in San Francisco and is a transitional deacon and candidate to the priesthood in the Diocese of California, completing their final year of study in the nonresidential program at Bexley Seabury Seminary based in Chicago. Rev. Simon is one of the founding members of the Companions of Dorothy the Worker, a dispersed new monastic community that seeks to witness to God’s love in the queer community. Their approach to ministry has been shaped by their formation as both a practicing spiritual director and as a former Franciscan friar with the Society of Saint Francis. Profoundly shaped by a seminary trip to Israel/Palestine in 2023, they now serve on the Board of Friends of Sabeel, North America (FOSNA) seeking to promote the fleshing out of a liberation theology for Palestine. Rev. Simon is eager to see how their life of ordained ministry will unfold as they seek to integrate these many threads into an ever more authentic expression of a life of loving service.

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Christopher Sikkema


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