Day 8: Sunday in the Second Week of Lent
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
….and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
….and the flame shall not consume you.
This is a promise spoken to the exiles in Babylon fifty years after their homes and lives had been destroyed in the fires that consumed Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonian army. We know the name of the commander who gave the order to burn it down: Nebuzaradan.
Does the prophet have in mind the rigors of the desert crossing? Is the fire the fierce heat of the sun beating down? Are the rivers the wadis that cut ravines through the land and where flash floods sweep down? It is the richness of poetry that it can mean this even as it means so much more. It is a promise to be led home, a promise to be brought to the promised land, a promise of restoration, a promise of salvation.
There are days that seem to overwhelm us. Life events that threaten to break us. We do not travel the journey of life without loss. Sometimes overwhelming loss. But the promise abides. “I will be with you.”
It is a promise made visible in the waters of our baptism: We are called by name. We have an eternal home in the heart of God. We shall be brought to the Holy City.
in the waters of baptism you grant us great and eternal promises.
Keep us this day in your word of grace and life
that we may walk in gratefulness and joy.
– A prayer for the second week of Lent
(For a reflection on this week’s theme: “Baptism & the promise of God”)
(For the reflection on last week’s theme: “Baptism & the journey of the human spirit”)
(For the sermon on last week’s theme: “A great and terrifying promise”)