March 29, 2020
The Fifth Sunday in Lent
Today’s gospel is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. With Martha and Mary we stand at the graves of our beloved dead and hear Jesus say, “I am the resurrection and the life.” To those in exile or living in the shadows of death, this story, along with that of the valley of dry bones, proclaims God’s promise of resurrection. But they are also words spoken next to the baptismal font, where we die to death and rise to life in Christ. In the power and presence of the risen Christ, Christians prepare to renew their baptismal promises and welcome new brothers and sisters at Easter.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Almighty God, our redeemer, in our weakness we have failed to be Your messengers of forgiveness and hope in the world. Renew us by Your Holy Spirit, that we may be raised to new life in Christ and serve You in righteousness all our days, through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Festivals and Commemorations this week
The faithful are remembered on the day of their death, the day they are born anew in heaven. The "c" indicates an approximate date.
March 29 Hans Nielsen Hauge, renewer of the church, died 1824
Hans Nielsen Hauge was a layperson who began preaching about “the living faith” in Norway and Denmark after a mystical experience that he believed called him to share the assurance of salvation with others. At the time, itinerant preaching and religious gatherings held without the supervision of a pastor were illegal, and Hauge was arrested several times. He also faced great personal suffering: his first wife died and three of his four children died in infancy.
March 31 John Donne, poet, died 1631
This priest of the Church of England is commemorated for his poetry and spiritual writing. Most of his poetry was written before his ordination and is sacred and secular, intellectual and sensuous. He saw in his wife, Anne, glimpses of the glory of God and a human revelation of divine love. In 1615 he was ordained and seven years later he was named dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. By that time his reputation as a preacher was firmly in place. In his poem “Good Friday, 1613. Riding westward,” he speaks of Jesus’ death on the cross: “Who sees God’s face, that is self life, must die; What a death were it then to see God die?”
April 4 Benedict the African, confessor, died 1589
Born a slave on the island of Sicily, Benedict first lived as a hermit and labored as a plowman after he was freed. When the bishop of Rome ordered all hermits to attach themselves to a religious community, Benedict joined the Franciscans, where he served as a cook. Although he was illiterate, his fame as a confessor brought many visitors to the humble and holy cook, and he was eventually named superior of the community. A patron saint of African Americans, Benedict is remembered for his patience and understanding when confronted with racial prejudice and taunts.