This week on the Strangely Warmed podcast I speak with Alan Combs about the readings for the 3rd Sunday of Lent [A] (Exodus 17.1-7, Psalm 95, Romans 5.1-11, John 4.5-42). Alan is a United Methodist pastor serving First UMC in Salem, VA. Our conversation covers a range of topics including scriptural introductions, Christian Twitter, Old Testament preaching, the wilderness of Sin, the “back in Egypt” committee, MewithoutYou, the best parts of the communion liturgy, faith vs. faithfulness, the living water on the cross, and secret snacks. If you would like to listen to the episode or subscribe to the podcast you can do so here: Thirst Trap
In preparation for Holy Week…
mewithoutyou – “A Stick, A Carrot & String”
The horse’s hay lay beneath His head our Lord was born to a manger bed, that all whose wells run dry could drink of his supply.
To keep Him warm the sheep drew near, so grateful for His coming here: You come with news of grace, come to take my place!
The donkey whispered in His ear: Child, in thirty-some-odd years, You’ll ride someone who looks like me (untriumphantly).
While the cardinals warbled a joyful song: He’ll make right what man made wrong, bringing low the hills, that the valleys might be filled!
Then Child, asked the birds, well, aren’t they lovely words we sing? The tiny Baby lay there without saying anything.
As a distance stood a mangy goat with crooked teeth and a matted coat, weary eyes and worn, chipped & twisted horns.
Thinking: Maybe I’ll make friends some day with the cows in the pens and the Rambouillet, but for now I’ll keep away – I got nothin’ smart to say.
But there’s a sign on the barn in Cabbagetown: “WHEN THE RAIN PICKS UP AND THE SUN GOES DOWN, SINNERS COME INSIDE! WITH NO MONEY, COME AND BUY. NO CLEVER TALK NOR GIFT TO BRING REQUIRES OUR LOWLY, LOVELY KING. COME YOU EMPTY-HANDED, YOU DON’T NEED ANYTHING.
And the night was cool and clear as glass with the sneaking snake in the garden grass, as Deep cried out to Deep, the disciples fast asleep.
And the snake perked up when he heard You ask: If You’re willing that this cup might pass we could find our way back home, maybe start a family all our own… but does not the Father guide the Son? Not my will but Yours be done! What else here to do? What else me but You?
And the snake who’d held the world, a stick, a carrot and a string, was crushed beneath the Foot of Your not wanting anything.