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collect/opening prayer reflection for March 27 and week following (NZPB)
(The NZ Lectionary has a nonsense typo and is incorrect in assigning the collect for this Sunday)

Collect from BCP (USA)

Almighty God,
you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves:
Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls,
that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body,
and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

This collect was in the Gregorian sacramentary (#202) for the Second Sunday in Lent. This is where it was in the Sarum Missal and earlier BCPs.

Collect from Common Worship (CofE)

Almighty God,
whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

This collect was written by William Reed Huntington (1882). From the 1928 BCP it went to Lent 3 in ASB.

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Exegesis of this Sunday’s readings

Introduction to the readings
The context, the frame of the reading about to be heard. This could be used as an introduction, printed on a pew sheet (acknowledged, of course), or adapted in other ways.

Exodus 17:1-7

The Hebrew people have been liberated from slavery in Egypt. This text is the third of ten tests that God has for God’s people in the desert. Meriba is derived from rib “to quarrel”. Massa is derived from nissa “to test”.

Romans 5:1-11

Paul’s letter has focused on our human situation without a messiah, followed by salvation through faith in Jesus. Now the letter moves from justification and righteousness to God’s love. In the cultural context, there was a constant giving of favours leading to indebtedness and the expectation that a favour be returned, and then that favour led to the expectation of a favour back,… and so on. This is the context in which Jesus does a favour we cannot repay.

John 4:5-42

A Samaritan ministry for Jesus does not fit in with the Synoptic picture (Matthew 10:5), but John is acknowledged as having a Samaritan ministry (Acts 8:1-8) and so scholars suggest this is a reading back into Jesus’ life within the Johannine commune community which probably had Samaritans in it. Women come to the well morning or evening – this woman is ostracised from her community of women. She comes at noon. Women and men did not speak alone to each other (4:9, 27). She then goes to the village marketplace – the men’s domain. In the dialogue, Jesus and the woman each speak seven times. There is a progression of insight: Judean (Jew), sir, prophet, messiah, saviour of the world.

These readings are new in the traditions of Lenten lectionaries.

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