2nd Sunday in Lent: For the Sake of the Gospel

For the Sake of the Gospel © Jan L. Richardson

For 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.
—Mark 8.35

From a lectionary reading for Lent 2: Mark 8.31-38

Reflection for the Second Sunday in Lent (March 4)

Blessing in the Round

This blessing
cannot help it;
it’s the way
it was designed.

Lay it down
and it rises again.

Release it
and it returns.

Give it away
and it makes a path
back to you.

There is no explaining
how it delights
in reappearing
when you have ceased
to hold it,
no hiding the sly smile
it wears
when it shows up
at your door,
no mistaking the wonder
when it circles back around
just at the moment
you thought you had
spent it completely,
had poured it out
with abandon
where you saw
the deepest thirst for it,
had put it entirely
in the hands
of those desperate
in their hunger.

But here it is,
the perfect circle of it
pressing into your hand
that curls around it
and then lets go,
receiving
and releasing
and receiving again
like the breath
that does not belong to us
but sets us in motion.

This reflection is part of the series “Teach Me Your Paths: A Pilgrimage into Lent.” If you’re new to the series, welcome! You can visit the first post, Teach Me Your Paths: Entering Lent, to pick it up from the beginning.

P.S. For previous reflections on this story (including Matthew’s version), click the images or titles below:

Blessing in the Shape of a Cross

Lent 2: In Which We Set Our Mind Somewhere

To Have without Holding

[To use the image “For the Sake of the Gospel,” please visit this page at janrichardsonimages.com. Your use of janrichardsonimages.com helps make the ministry of The Painted Prayerbook possible. Thank you!]


2 Responses to “2nd Sunday in Lent: For the Sake of the Gospel”

  1. Daria Says:

    “Blessing in the Round” … I keep rereading, contemplating… fueled by its energy. It is, in the moment, antidote for the suffering of others about whom I care deeply and for whom I offer up all the (relatively petty) hurts, obstacles and inconvenience in my own life. Thank you for this glorious affirmation of faith; my heart is overflowing with love and I have tears in my eyes.

  2. Susan Garrity Says:

    I am just in awe of the new direction of your artwork. It feels even more like icons than your original [earlier] art. Congratulations! And as always your blessings lead me off in many directions!

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