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Lent Readings

Readings Begin February 18

Daily Lent Readings

"He is risen, indeed!" Lent has passed but that doesn't mean the daily readings have to go away. Some of you might be discovering this page for the first time. Others who participated during Lent might find it helpful to revisit a particular reading. For these reasons, we will leave this page up for a while.
We pray that you experience the wonder of interacting with our Savior in a personal, transformative way!
All the readings are also available via podcast on Apple or Spotify. Click here for more information.
"A New Light Shining" painting by Youngsung Kim from Havenlight
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Day 41

The Joy of His Return
Imagine standing with Jesus, right next to him, in prayer to his Father. Read this passage of praise aloud. As you do so, consider that you are praying along with Jesus, your two voices becoming one as you bless God.  
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
   and all that is within me,
   bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity
   who heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life from the pit,
   who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
   so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5)
Psalm 96:1-6, 10-13
Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
   sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
   tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
   his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
   he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
   but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
   strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. . . .
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
   Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
   he will judge the peoples with equity.”
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
   let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
   let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
   before the LORD, for he comes,
   for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
   and the peoples in his faithfulness.
What Is This Psalm About?   
Psalm 96 joyfully exalts the LORD I AM as King not only of Israel but the entire world. It calls upon all people and even all nature to acknowledge his reign. This present worship of the one true God comes filled with hope. One great day, the LORD shall come directly to his earth. He will arrive for the purpose of judgment. And judgment is for the purpose of setting all things in order. What is crooked will be set right. God will subdue rebellion and turn it into worship. Fairness will triumph over favoritism. Righteousness will prevail over oppression. Justice will roll down like water. With this future in view, Psalm 96 calls us to offer our lives to the LORD as worship.
What Might This Psalm Have Meant to Jesus?
What a song for this horrible day that we have to call Good Friday! The juxtaposition between the psalm’s exaltation and Jesus’ crucifixion jars us. It seems an impossible joy to proclaim. Consider these brief comments on some of  these verses: 
Oh sing to the LORD a new song: Even while the same old powers keep their power as religious authorities and Roman officials discard Jesus to Golgotha. 
Declare his glory among the nations: News that the glory of God is become the foolish scandal of the cross.
Great is the LORD . . . above all gods: But our God is nailed hand and foot to the killing beam!
Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary: But on Calvary mangling, strangling ugliness screams that beauty has fled the earth where God turns his back.
The world is established; it shall never be moved: Though the earth cracked, the rocks split and the tombs opened as Jesus gave up his spirit.
Let the trees sing for joy: Though it was their rough wood that held the Savior above the ground until he expired. 
How can we sing such a psalm on this of all days? And yet. And yet. Psalm 96 reveals the deeper truth of this event: paradoxes abound for a wonderful reversal occurred. The cross has been called a “magnificent defeat.” When the sinless one takes a criminal’s condemnation, he carries away all our sin. In dying, Jesus defeats death. In utter humiliation, Jesus is exalted as the name above all names. In his vision, Isaiah saw the LORD seated on his throne, high and lifted up. Yes, says the church. But that throne is made of the wood of the cross. His exaltation to the highest heaven occurs as Jesus is lifted up just a few feet from the bloody ground.
And so we can follow Psalm 96 where it leads—to the return of Jesus. Departing earth through a tortured death, he would return in resurrection. Departing earth again in exultant ascension, Jesus has not left us alone. He will return to set all things right. The story is not over.
Throughout his life, this psalm would have uplifted Jesus in praise to his Father. In time, he would understand how it pointed toward his return in glory. He would have drawn hope from this future even on this day. For in Psalm 96, Jesus knows that the way things are right now is not the way things will always be.
Isaiah the prophet declares, “I see the Lord, seated on his throne.” In the 12th c. mosaic of San Clemente, Isaiah points to Jesus on the cross! The rough wood of the cross is the glorious throne of Jesus!
Praying with Jesus
With Paul, I say Lord Jesus that
I have loved your appearing.
I love that you left heaven
To take up life with us in the bleak world.
I love that you showed us the heart of the Father.
I love that you revealed that
Greater love has no man than this,
That he should lay down his life for others.
And I love that you showed yourself alive
To your disciples. 
You revealed that love is stronger than death.
And I eagerly await your appearing.
I cry out on this Good Friday,
Come, Lord Jesus!
Make all things new.
Set all things right.
Judge the world in justice and truth.
Come in glory on your great Day.
Until then, I keep watch with you,
I declare your glory and marvelous works.
I sing the joy that ran deeper than death
On the victorious day of your defeat
And will flood the world at your return. 


Posted in: Lent