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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 25TH, 2024



The second covenant in this year’s Lenten readings is the one made with
     Abraham and Sarah: God’s promise to make them the ancestors of many, with
     whom God will remain in everlasting covenant. Paul says this promise comes to
     all who share Abraham’s faith in the God who brings life into being where there
     was no life. We receive this baptismal promise of resurrection life in faith. Sarah
     and Abraham receive new names as a sign of the covenant, and we too get new
     identities in baptism, as we put on Christ.


O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful
     death to be for us the means of life. Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ that
     we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, our
     Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now
     and forever. Amen.


GENESIS 17:1-7, 15-16
As with Noah, God makes an everlasting covenant with Abraham and Sarah.
     God promises this old couple that they will be the ancestors of nations, though
     they have no child together. God will miraculously bring forth new life from
     Sarah’s womb. The name changes emphasize the firmness of God’s promise.

1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said
     to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. 2And I will make
     my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.”
     3Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, 4“As for me, this is my
     covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 5No
     longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have
     made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 6I will make you exceedingly
     fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7I will
     establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you
     throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to
     your offspring after you.”

     15God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but
     Sarah shall be her name. 16I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by
     her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall
     come from her.”


PSALM 22:23-31
(Response) All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord. (Ps. 22:27)

23You who fear the Lord, give praise! All you of Jacob’s line, give glory.
Stand in awe of the Lord, all you offspring of Israel.
24For the Lord does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty; neither is the
        Lord’s face hidden from them;
but when they cry out, the Lord hears them.
25From you comes my praise in the great assembly;
I will perform my vows in the sight of those who fear the Lord.
26The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
Let those who seek the Lord give praise! May your hearts live forever!
(Response) All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord. (Ps. 22:27)

27All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord;
all the families of nations shall bow before God.
28For dominion belongs to the Lord,
who rules over the nations.
29Indeed, all who sleep in the earth shall bow down in worship;
all who go down to the dust, though they be dead, shall kneel before the Lord.
30Their descendants shall serve the Lord,
whom they shall proclaim to generations to come.
31They shall proclaim God’s deliverance to a people yet unborn,
saying to them, “The Lord has acted!”
(Response) All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord. (Ps. 22:27)


ROMANS 4:13-25
Paul presents Abraham as the example for how a person comes into a right
     relationship with God not through works of the law but through faith. Though
     Abraham and Sarah were far too old for bearing children, Abraham trusted that
     God would accomplish what God had promised to accomplish.

13The promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his
     descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14If it is the
     adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.
     15For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

     16For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace
     and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but
     also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17as
     it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of
     the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence
     the things that do not exist. 18Hoping against hope, he believed that he would
     become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous
     shall your descendants be.” 19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his
     own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred
     years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20No
     distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in
     his faith as he gave glory to God, 21being fully convinced that God was able to
     do what he had promised. 22Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as
     righteousness.” 23Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for
     his sake alone, 24but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him
     who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25who was handed over to death for
     our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by
     which the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. (Gal. 6:14)

MARK 8:31-38

After Peter confesses his belief that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus tells his
     disciples for the first time what is to come. Peter’s response indicates that he
     does not yet understand the way of the cross that Jesus will travel.

31[Jesus] began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering,
     and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed,
     and after three days rise again.32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took
     him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and looking at his disciples, he
     rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind
     not on divine things but on human things.”

     34He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to
     become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and
     follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose
     their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36For what will it
     profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they
     give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in
     this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be

     ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

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