Living the Lectionary – Fifth week of Lent

Living the Lectionary is a weekly devotional tool intended to give you ideas for living out the Word of God that we encounter on Sundays in worship. 


Jesus begins to walk toward Jerusalem. Law: The old ways of relating to God through the temple and the sacrificial system just don’t work.  Gospel: God relates to us in a new way, a new covenant that comes about through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Fifth Week of Lent C


(readings are linked to text on – you can read all the readings together here.)

Isaiah 43:16-21– You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet – In this prophecy, God points His people’s memories back to their great rescue from Pharaoh, but then does not let them consider only this. Behold, I am doing a NEW thing, He says, something that they can’t remember because they have never seen it. In what ways are you coming to God with an expectant heart for the new thing that He might be doing in your life or the lives of those around you? What new might He be bringing into the lives of peoples whose hurts seem impossible to cure?

Psalm 126– A Song of Ascent – The Songs of Ascent are fifteen psalms that would be sung or said by pilgrims to the temple in Jerusalem on their pilgrimage. There are fifteen because temple had fifteen steps. This Song of Ascent is used in the lectionary at this point because it is at this point in the Gospel that we understand that Jesus is changing directions to face Jerusalem to go on His “pilgrimage” to the Cross. What songs come to your mind as you are preparing for Easter’s coming arrival? How might those songs help you understand yourself as a pilgrim to the empty tomb?

Philippians 3:4-14 – Confidence in the Coming Hope – Paul lists out his qualifications, but then nullifies them in the light of the coming hope of Jesus Christ. There is nothing so hopeful and so confidence inspiring for Paul as the story of Jesus Christ. Nothing else compares. What are your qualifications in this world? How do they afford you confidence? How does Jesus relate to your personal confidences?

Luke 20:9-20– Killing the Son – As this is the last Sunday of Lent proper before we begin with the celebration of Holy Week next Sunday with the Sunday of the Passion/Palm Sunday, we see Jesus telling a parable that is a prophecy of His death outside of the city on the execution mount of Golgatha. How are you preparing your heart and mind for this special time of year? What does this stark parable cause you to wonder about as you consider Jesus’ death and imminent resurrection in the story of Christianity played out in Holy Week and Easter?


The season of Lent is one of preparation for Easter. Seasons of preparation in the Christian tradition are always about preparing for a celebration – this time for the greatest feast of the Church, Easter. Lent is traditionally a 40 day fast, but spans about 46 days, using Sundays as “little Easters” away from the fast.