The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
Zaó: The word zaó and its counterparts are scattered across the Greek New Testament. Zaó means “to live” and Jesus is constantly turning to life amid death, possibility amid impossibility. Especially in the gospel of John, we get Jesus’ promises of new life in our midst. “Whoever eats this bread will live,” Jesus says when he declares himself the bread of life (John 6:51). “Those who hear will live” Jesus says when he is trying to explain to his disciples (again) the way God’s grace will unfold (John 5:25). “In a little while the world will no longer see me; because I live, you also will live,” Jesus says as he faces his own imminent death.
In Luke’s gospel too, life exudes from the places of death. In the wilderness Jesus says “We do not live by bread alone” when the devil himself tries to convince the food-deprived Jesus to turn desert rocks into a nourishing loaf. When he meets “a man who had demons who lived in the tombs” —a life literally surrounded by death—Jesus offers healing, transformation, reunion with family, a tangible return to life (Luke 8:27). And at the apex of our Christian story, which we turn to in earnest for the season of Lent, we remember Easter, Jesus’ words to the women at the empty tomb, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
When we trace zaó across Jesus’ long ministry, we are lifted up into our own place of possibility, where all is not as it seems, and life can be found even amid the echoes of the tomb.
Praying the Alphabet
God of Life,
as we zig and zag
across this day unhinged,
we recognize you.
searching for life amid the rubble
entombed in our own refusal
to see what is possible with you.
May we be abuzz with your spirit,
seen, known, and loved.
Daily Lenten Devotional
Circle the Stories: Parables of the Great Parabler
The 40 days of Lent prepare us to receive the story of Easter. We are made ready by the journey, day by day laying the groundwork for transformation. In the season of Lent, we draw near to the story of Jesus’ life in order to hold the mystery of his death, resurrection, and promises of new life.
Christine Hides and Katie Lancaster will offer a Lenten devotional called Circle the Stories: Parables of the Great Parabler. We circled all the parables in the Gospel of Luke, in which Jesus offers 38 different tangible, mystery-laden (mystic?) stories of everyday objects and human encounters that push us to see the divine in life-transforming ways. Sign up to receive this daily devotional in your email inbox, or follow along on social media.