Fifth Sunday of Lent

Time Passage by Michelle L Hofer — sepia toned gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 inches, 1998.

March 26, 2023 Lectionary Texts — Year A
Ezekiel 37:1-14 • Psalm 130 • Romans 8:6-11 • John 11:1-45

View Lectionary

Image description: Seen from the depth of the root cellar, a stone staircase leads up to a gated arch entrance. A shrouded figure stands to the left of the light filled cellar opening. A candle placed in a nook on the stone wall at left provides soft illumination. The glow of two other candles appears near the top of the stairs. The image is not fully in focus.

He told me to prophesy and tell them what He said.
Eternal One: Pay attention, My people! I am going to open your graves and bring you back to life! I will carry you straight back to the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Eternal One. I will breathe My Spirit into you, and you will be alive once again. I will place you back in your own land. After that you will know I, the Eternal, have done what I said I would do. So said the Eternal One.
— Ezekiel 37:12-14

So I wait for the Eternal — my soul awaits rescue — and I put my hope in His transforming word. My soul waits for the Lord to break into the world… even more than night watchmen expect the break of day. — Psalm 130:5-6

If the Spirit of the One who resurrected Jesus from the dead lives inside of you, then you can be sure that He who raised Him will cast the light of life into your mortal bodies through the life-giving power of the Spirit residing in you. — Romans 8:11

Jesus: I am the resurrection and the source of all life; those who believe in Me will live even in death. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never truly die. Do you believe this? — John 11:25-26

He called out in a thunderous voice.
Jesus: Lazarus, come out!
Then, the man who was dead walked out of his tomb bound from head to toe in a burial shroud.
Jesus: Untie him, and let him go.
— John 11:43-44

Single-file we are ushered into a dark, deep cavern on a grassy hillside. Inside, the descending stairs are lit by scattered candles. As our eyes adjust, we can make out the stone walls and arching brick-lined ceiling. We are standing inside a spacious underground Hutterite root cellar, constructed over 400 years ago in Slovakia. Our tour group feels as though we have stepped back in time. The present world, a strange glow at the top of the steps, awaits our return.

From the time I first printed this photo, I have been intrigued with its metaphorical spiritual imagery. Today, I am making connects with these lectionary texts and this image.

Practicing Visio Divina:

  1. View the artwork
    What do you see?

    Note shapes – color – style – movement
    What stands out for you?
    What are you curious about?
    What questions do you have?
    Hold back any feelings – judgments – opinions
  2. Read the accompanying scripture and look over the artwork again
    What connections do you make?

    Between the image and text?
    What is coming to mind from your own experience?
    What feelings are rising in you?
    Are you uncomfortable with something?
    There are no right or wrong answers
  3. Read the scripture again and explore the artwork a third time
    What do you hear?

    What is God saying to you?
    What do you wish to speak to God?
    What blessing or prayer is rising in you?

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