The God of the Living

Riddled with questions, this passage invites us to sift through the questions in our own lives - both the ones asked of us and the ones we ask of ourselves. The ancient practice of the Examen - a prayerful reflection which over time aids in discernment - can help us see what brings life and what takes life from us or keeps us in dead and despairing places. 
The reflection questions which follow this passage can guide you in the practice of the examen.  Perhaps it is one you feel led to incorporate into the season of Lent.

Mark 12:18-27 (NIV)
Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 19 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”

For Reflection and Prayer:
What word(s) or phrase in the passage calls out to you?

What parts of your day are filled with life? What in your life is life-giving and to be celebrated with God?

What parts of your day are dead or filled with dread? What in your life is life-taking and could be surrendered to God?

How have you experienced the power of God in your life?

During the season of Lent, Christians may set aside time for cleansing the body and spirit. Lent is also a traditional time of spring housecleaning. What in your life may desire cleaning so that spring and new life can begin?

Change is Possible

When people are real about how difficult it is to change themselves, no matter how hard they try, it can be helpful to remember that God is the agent and power behind any lasting change in us.

Pay attention. Watch closely. How is the Trinity bringing about a Kingdom life in you?

As a community, we will pray through the book of Mark in 2014 and notice how Jesus interacts with his Father, with the Holy Spirit, and with others. We will watch how he transforms hopeless, helpless, brokenhearted, sick, hungry and imprisoned people and situations. He is willing to form an utterly new and radical Kingdom life within us. Let's join him.

Mark 1:1-8 The Message
The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

Watch closely: I’m sending my preacher ahead of you;
He’ll make the road smooth for you.
Thunder in the desert!
Prepare for God’s arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!
4-6 John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.
7-8 As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”

For Reflection and Prayer:
Lord, what are you pointing at for me in this passage?
How is my heart being spoken to at this moment?
Where might this word intersect with my life right now?
What change do I long for God’s Spirit to work in me?