The final Sunday after Epiphany witnesses to Jesus -- Jesus alone—as a lamp in darkness. The imagery is compelling for our society, now in a season of dismaying darkness that awaits a lamp of guidance and assurance. Lent invites us to restored life with God, being able to start again when we come to a failed end, and being given water from the midst of the intransigent "rock" of life on our own. Then the texts witness to a fresh offer of life that is given by God in the life of Jesus. It is life that contradicts our usual way. It walks us through self-surrender and relinquishment to the surprise of living water, shining light, and ample love.
Walter Brueggemann, a Sojourners contributing editor, is professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.
These texts witness to the overwhelming reality of God, who refuses all of our explanatory categories and who meets us in awesome inscrutability. The Old Testament texts appeal to the two defining traditions of Israel’s faith. The Exodus reading concerns the holy mountain (Sinai) where Moses is permitted to rendezvous with God. Psalm 2 attests to the tradition of David and the designation of David as God’s "son" who will be God’s governing agent in the world. The traditions of Sinai and David together evidence God’s majesty, rule, and effective governance in the world.