Join The Community

Kara Lee Griffith

Apr 03, 2022
 

 

A special thanks this week to Kara Lee Griffith

This is a special interview, part five in a seven-part series on Lent. Some of our discussion explores the reading for the third Sunday in Lent. I've included the reading below (NRSV) along with some questions to help you reflect on the meaning of the reading, Lent, and what it means to be a contemplative. 

 

March 21st — Fifth Sunday in Lent

Isaiah 43:16-21

16 Thus says the Lord,
who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,

17 who brings out chariot and horse,
army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:

18 Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.

19 I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.

20 The wild animals will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,

21 the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.

Questions for consideration:

Before you begin to reflect with the community today, let’s situate ourselves within the reading.

  • Read the passage, read the questions below, then read the passage again.
  • Sit for a few minutes and allow yourself to enter into the scripture.
  • How does Kara's story of her troubled pregnancy inform your reading of this text?

This passage was written either at the very end of the Babylonian exile or shortly after when Judean exiles were allowed to return to their homeland.

  • Imagine yourself as a person still living in exile, what are you bringing with you as you prepare to return to your "homeland," which you may have never seen in person before?
  • How does your own experience of exile, wilderness, thirsting, and being either chosen or not chosen inform your imagination?
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert... I give water in the wilderness
  • Who is speaking in this passage? Reflect on the difference between "I (God) am about to do a new thing...do you not perceive it?" and "I (your name) am about to do a new thing...do you not perceive it?"
  • What might be the difference in a new thing that you see as coming from God, and the new thing that you see as coming from yourself?
  • What new thing might you be seeing that you are not the author of? Where is the water in the wilderness right now?
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert... I give water in the wilderness
  • Who is speaking in this passage? Reflect on the difference between "I (God) am about to do a new thing...do you not perceive it?" and "I (your name) am about to do a new thing...do you not perceive it?"
  • What might be the difference in a new thing that you see as coming from God, and the new thing that you see as coming from yourself?
  • What new thing might you be seeing that you are not the author of? Where is the water in the wilderness right now?
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert... I give water in the wilderness
  • Who is speaking in this passage? Reflect on the difference between "I (God) am about to do a new thing...do you not perceive it?" and "I (your name) am about to do a new thing...do you not perceive it?"
  • What might be the difference in a new thing that you see as coming from God, and the new thing that you see as coming from yourself?
  • What new thing might you be seeing that you are not the author of? Where is the water in the wilderness right now?

Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.

  • What might be the benefit to the exiles on their way home to "not remember the former things"?
  • What possibly ensues if they keep remembering?
  • How does remembering old things get in the way of perceiving the new thing springing forth?
  • In your life, what has been the cost and the promise of forgetting or releasing the former things in your life?

Going a little deeper:

  • What might be worth taking from the experience of exile to do what God is asking? Why might an exile still wish to remember? 
  • What does it mean to be formed for God? 
  • Where in society do you encounter people who literally or metaphorically thirst in a desert and seek rivers in the wilderness? What would a promise of drinking water change for them?
  • What effect might being reminded that you are "chosen" have emotionally, psychologically and physically on those who are thirsting?

 

Subscribe and receive my weekly spiritual reflection!