Fifth Sunday in Lent 2022
Adult and Small Child
Read: John 12:1-8
Reflect: Six days before the Passover (a day of remembrance when the Jews honor God protecting them while in Egypt), Jesus went to a town named Bethany to visit the home of His friend Lazarus. This is the same Lazarus who Jesus raised from the dead. Dinner was made for Jesus. Martha served and Lazarus sat with Him at the table, but their sister Mary took a bottle of expensive perfume and put it on Jesus’ feet. She wiped the perfume away with her hair. Everyone could smell the perfume. Judas, the disciple that would later betray Jesus, was upset by what Mary did and said that the money she spent should have been given to the poor. Judas wasn’t really concerned about the poor but about himself as he would steal the money that people would give to them. Jesus spoke up and said that Mary was preparing His body for when He would be buried. He reminded them that they would always have the poor, but that He would not always be with them.
Respond: What are your favorite smells? What do you think about when you smell those scents? Ask a trusted grownup to help plan a visit to a place that has your favorite smell. Then, draw a picture of your outing!
- Quantrilla Ard
Adult and Elementary
Reflect: “I am about to do a new thing;” says God in the words of the prophet Isaiah. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul also sees his life in a new way. He explains that he used to think of himself as better than everyone else, because he followed all the rules. Now, he realizes that God loves him not because he followed the rules; Paul realizes that he and all people are beloved of God because of the grace shown in Jesus. Paul has a new way of looking at his life.
Respond: Talk about this question: why do we have rules? Rules can help us live safely. Drivers follow rules so they don’t crash. Teachers have rules so that students can learn. Playgrounds have rules so no one gets hurt. Parents have rules for children about what to eat and when to go to bed so that children will be healthy. But if a child goes to bed late, or doesn’t broccoli, that doesn’t make them a bad person. Like parents who always love their children – even when children don’t follow the rules – God always loves us. We are God’s beloved not because we follow the rules, but because of the grace of Jesus.
- Lisa Brown
How are you reminded of God's love this week?
Adult and Youth
Read: Philippians 3:4b-11
Reflect: Paul begins this part of his letter by describing his history as a Hebrew, a Pharisee, and righteous under the laws of Moses. After his conversion to follow Jesus, he looks back at his past and pushes it away. It does not matter to him anymore because Paul’s one goal is building upon his relationship with Christ. He is “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”
Respond: Have you ever done anything that you regret? Rude to a friend? Purposely ignored a classmate? Yelled at your parents even when you know they didn’t mean to annoy you? Paul encourages us to take those things that separate us from God, in his case, his lineage and actions as a Pharisee, and put them behind us. Instead of reminiscing on our bad acts or our past, we should constantly look forward to building upon our relationship with God. What are things you need to put behind you?
Adult and Adults
Read: Isaiah 43:16-21
Reflect: Sometimes we need to sit back in awe of who God is. The all powerful, sovereign, King of the universe, God. The God who knows every hair on your head. The God who has appointed all of your days here on earth. The God who is holding all of life in the palm of His hands. This is the God in whom we have placed our trust and hope. Isaiah 43 is a reminder that we have nothing to fear or worry about in God. God makes a way out of no way. God provides water in the desert. God is constantly working all things together for our good. Our response to all of this? Verse 21 says it, we declare God’s praise. We don’t just praise God for all that has been done for us, but simply because of who God is. God is worthy of our praise because God is God. Praise is the expression of our admiration. God is mighty, and all powerful, and God has made us into God’s people. God rescued us from sin when we had no way, simply because, God loves us. May we praise God today.
Respond: A big aspect of praising God is thankfulness. Try to make a list of 100 things you’re thankful for.
- CJ Quartlbaum
Download a printable copy of this week's reflections HERE.
This post was first published April 3, 2019.