I suspect that this week’s Gospel is not one of the most well-known or well-loved. According to Luke, Jesus saves his tears for Jerusalem but without doubt I suggest that at this point he experiences the challenges of the desert and wilderness, including anxiety and fear. While he has been busy casting out demons and healing the sick, the Pharisees tell him Herod is plotting to kill him. His disciples want to escape, and they want a resolution to the impending crisis that is confronting them.
Jesus responds harshly, for the time has not yet come. The disciples still do not understand the messiah must suffer and three days later rise from the dead. There he remains among the olive trees in prayer with his followers, where he seeks to remind them that the time has not yet come, and they should pray with him lest they be tempted. Likewise in our times the task is to journey with Jesus to the cross and then the day of resurrection, not as a passive bystander but as one entering the drama of the days ahead.
In our passage from Genesis there is the promise of a lasting protection and covenant for Abraham and his descendants. Abraham cannot impose conditions on God. Nor can he do anything to earn God’s promise. He can only trust in God, for he remains a nomad without a settled homeland to call his own.
As we move together through the season of Lent, may we be aware that during our own times of despair, challenge, aspiration, and hope, God remains with us on our journey through life.