Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) Lectionary Reflection Year B, Lent 4, Old Testament

2 Chronicles 36: 14-23 He took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him (vs 20)

Reflection on 2 Chronicles 36: 14-23 by Nan Stokes

Those of us who live in the United States have never been overrun or subject to the rule of a conqueror, so these words in Chronicles are sobering and frightening! To be defeated in battle and have friends and loved ones killed on the battlefield and not return from the fighting must be a horrible experience for those who survived. But then to be taken as a slave to a strange land would be even more frightening! The First Reading on this day tells that all the leading priests and the people were exceedingly unfaithful, and yet God was persistent because he had compassion on those people. But God's messengers, the prophets, were mocked and despised and scoffed at until there was no remedy for the Lord's wrath, and the people of Israel were conquered and enslaved. The faith of those Hebrew people sustained them during those long years of captivity, and they kept the sabbath and stayed true to their teachings. What joy there must have been when King Cyrus of Persia said, "Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him! Let him go up!" And they returned to their homeland to rebuild the temple.

This is the mid-point of Lent a time to reflect on past days and renew our resolve to observe a discipline in the days ahead. Remember that our faith can sustain us in those long days, and give us renewal and hope in our struggle to become better Christians in the short run and the long run the race that is set before us.

Nan Stokes is an active member of St. Edward the Confessor Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN. She originally wrote this reflection in 2000. Nan and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Nan Stokes or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
MEESC Holy Trinity Church Box 65 Elk River, MN 55330-0065 USA

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