Ssssserious Ssssstuff

Milk SnakeThis coming Sunday is the Fourth Sunday in Lent.  All along, we have been reading these great stories of Covenant for our First (Old Testament) Lessons.  We’ve had the giving of the 10 commandments, Abraham and Sarah, and Noah.  Now, this Sunday, March 22, 2009, we will deal with this odd little part of the Book of Numbers, Chapter 21:4-9.  As the people grumble in their wilderness wandering, snakes appear (the Hebrew word there does not mean poisonous so much as “fiery”).  Then a bronze serpent is crafted; and all who look upon this snake shall live.  (Popular at this time was the understanding of sympathetic magic:  cure for an ailment was often tied to looking upon the thing or the substance that was harming you.)  But the story also ties in with our Gospel reading, as Jesus makes reference to this bronze serpent in John 3:14-21.

Regardless of the exact meaning of the bronze serpent, Jesus connects a story of the Israelites and God, and likens it to himself and God.  We see in John’s Gospel that Jesus is making huge claims for his own life, its meaning, and the implications of his life on others.  And that is definitely some ssssserious sssstuff.

God of mercy, bring us into the truth of your light (John 3:21).  Amen.

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