Alleluia, Christ is risen: the Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Resurrection people live life to the full with Jesus!
EASTER SUNDAY 2017 READINGS: Psalm 118 John 20, Acts 10, 1 Peter 2:9 Ezekiel 36: 24-28
My prayertoday, is that we take full advantage of the abundant life that God has in store for each of us through the Victory of Jesus Christ, that we would truly live into being his New Creation People, to know as St. Peter put it that: you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
As his resurrection people, let us live as people of the Light of God every single day.
Hear the full Sermon Here
Readings; Psalm 95 & 88, Genesis 1:30-2:3, Hebrews 4:1-16, Romans 8:1-11
In Genesis, we first get a sense of the rhythms of life God built into the fabric of creation. God himself rested from his good work of creation on the seventh day, weaving a rhythm of rest for mankind into the fabric of our lives. God knew this would be good for us, and so, like a good parent, set a healthy example for us.
This day in history, Jesus rested in the tomb on the Seventh Day. He proclaimed from the cross, “it is finished”, the redeeming work of God through Jesus Christ was complete. He made the one-time all-sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, reconciling it back to God. As the Father rested from the Six Days of Creation, Jesus, the new first man of creation took his rest after completing his work for us, so that on the New First day of Creation, Resurrection Sunday, he would lead us into Resurrection Life with him.
We too are called to take rest, to weave Sabbath into the rhythm of our lives as it is good for us. The author to the Hebrews puts it this way from chapter 4:
For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all his works."
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us, therefore, strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Lord, help us to take rest today and wake up refreshed to live into your resurrection promises tomorrow, and all days. Amen
Readings: Psalms 22, 95, Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-33, 1 Peter 1:10-20, Matthew 27:1-60
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" - Jesus words from the cross echo back to Psalm 22 composed by King David 100 years before the cross, and to us today as we contemplate our place in the universe, and the state of the world and look for where God is in the mess of it all. The heart of the Father was with the Son at his worst time on the cross. Yes, the weight of the sins of the whole world was upon Jesus, and so he felt apart from God as sin has that effect, separating us from God. But that doesn’t mean the Father’s love was not with him. Indeed, the Father said to Jesus He would glorify him as he was lifted up before men. (John 12). If the Father was with Jesus in his time of desperate need even with the sin of the world heaped upon him, won’t he be there for us, the sinful ones for whom Jesus suffered and died.
Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come to you, that they may find your mercy present with them in all
their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them for the sake of him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Readings: Psalm 102, Jeremiah 20:7-11, 1 Corinthians 10: 14-17, 11:23-32, John 17:1-11
This is the night we remember Jesus’s Last Supper with his followers. The night he would look forward to the cross and tomb and they and we would look back to a meal of holy remembrance.
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread… For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 1 Cor 10:16-17, 11:23-26
What Wondrous Love Is This
American Folk Hymn
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!
When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.
To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.
Readings: Psalm 55, Jeremiah 17:5-10, Philippians 4:1-13, John 12:27-36
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me-- practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Paul says here he is content in all things. His experience as a disciple of Jesus has built his faith to this state of living; complete contentment, knowing he can do all things in Christ who strengthens him. This contentment and this surety have given him an added bonus; joy! This joy is relentless through all things, good times and bad times alike and brings about abiding peace in all circumstances. Contentment, joy, peace, can we live in these three?
Jesus, in John 12, tells us how: “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light."
We, like Paul have been given the precious gift of the light of Christ. When we baptize, we give the newly baptized a candle to symbolize this light and say: “You have received the light of Christ, see that you keep it burning brightly all the days of your life.” We continue to kindle this flame by remaining in his presence though his Word, through prayer, and obedience to being a disciple. If we are not finding contentment, joy, and peace, perhaps we’re not being as faithful as we could be. Perhaps we’re letting the disappointments or struggles, or hurts of this life get in the way, or erode the contentment, joy and peace that living in the light brings. Press into the Lord. Ask for a refilling. Perhaps take a break from the doing and simply be in his presence. This is the perfect time of year.
Readings: Psalm 6, 12, Jeremiah 15:10-21, John 12:20-26
We have stirring words for the lips of Jesus in today’s Gospel passage from John:
Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me.
Jesus has just entered Jerusalem in triumph. But he knows this earthly triumph will be short lived. He knows the path ahead of suffering and death that he will be the grain that dies to produce much fruit in those who follow him. As his followers, he is encouraging us to do the same. We are called to live sacrificially for others out of our love for the Lord and love for others that has its source in the Lord.
Lord Jesus strengthen our faith that we would be empowered to follow you, to take up our cross daily and by your grace, produce fruit for your Kingdom. Guide us in all things we pray. Amen.
readings: Psalm 118, 31:1-7Matthew 21:1-11, 1 Corinthians 15:49-58 Matthew 26:36 - 27:54
The Passion of Christ “When the Son of Man is Lifted up, he will draw all people to himself” Resurrection People Live in Hope – Both the Cross and Tomb we look forward to are empty
1 Cor 15:49-58
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Collect – Passion-Palm Sunday
Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen.
Listen to the Message Here
Readings: Psalm 42, 137:1-9, 144, Jeremiah 31:27-34, Romans 11:25-36, John 12:1-50
There is so much action and drama in John, chapter 12. Read it all and allow it to sink in. A dinner party honoring the miracle worker, and the dead Lazarus raised to life. A special anointing from the beloved sister which stirs resentment on the part of Judas and is the final straw that leads to betrayal. The culmination of John’s account is set in motion from Bethany. As we read on we see the triumphal entry into the great city by Jesus and his followers, which leads to more following him, although some still in secret. His fame is spreading because of the way he displays the power of God with love and truth into a downtrodden world. There is no turning back for Jesus, and he knows it. He knows the plan of the Father is coming to fruition and that when he is lifted up all the world will be drawn to him (vs 32). He knows it is the way of pain, shame and death that ultimately will lead to victory in resurrection.
Now go back and read what he has to say to us today in versus 37-50. Jesus is imploring us to live in his light, to turn and be healed by him and live into that healing. Don’t return to the darkness and doubt of disease. Live as his resurrection child, free of all shame and doubt, and hurt and grief, because your loving savior paid for it all for you.
Jesus Paid It All
Elvina M. Hall 1865
1. I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
2. For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.
3. And now complete in Him,
My robe, His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.
4. Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.
5. When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.
6. And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down,
All down at Jesus’ feet.
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
You are redeemed!
Readings: Jeremiah 29:1,4-13, Matthew 5:1-48
Now in Jeremiah 29, we see God’s Word reach the exiles in Babylon though the prophet Jeremiah. Interesting how God has a new assignment for them in exile. It can be summed up in verse 7: “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
Can these words have meaning for us today? Are our circumstances as committed disciples of Jesus Christ in a nation and culture that does not honor him as Lord or looks to him as Savior much different from being in exile? Is the Lord’s command to the exiles in Babylon consistent with the New Testament Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ on how to live the Blessed Life Jesus describes in Matthew 5? (Read all of it) A question we can ask ourselves: Do I seek the welfare of the city God has placed me in knowing the impact I may see in my life may go completely unnoticed by man, but not by God? And in doing so, will I find my welfare (blessing)? A serious question for serious times, when, yes, I believe as the Church we are like a people in exile in the secular West. As we turn the corner on the final week of Lent, looking to the Cross and empty tomb, can we pray to the Lord to show us specifically how we as individuals and His Church, can bless the community he’s planted us in, and enjoy the blessings he has in store for us as we are faithful and obedient to his leading. Lord, give me the grace and courage to follow where you lead, even when it’s to the cross you would have me take up every day. I trust in you Jesus, my Savior and Lord. Amen.
Readings: Psalms 131, 132, 133, 140, 142, Romans 11:25-36, John 10:14-42
Jesus gives us the rest of the answer in John Chapter 10, to the problem we saw unravelling yesterday in Jeremiah 25. Time after time, the underling shepherds have led the people astray. Jesus has and is the answer: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me…I lay down my life for the sheep… so there will be one flock, one shepherd.”
Yes, all who’ve come before are not true shepherds, but thieves and robbers, who’ve looked out for the good of themselves, but not the good of the flock. Jesus is different. He lays down his life for the sheep, “drawing all to himself” John 12:32. Do we forget this at times? He is doing the drawing, and the calling, our “job” is to point to Him, the one true shepherd. We do this with our words, our attitudes, our giving, our nurturing and feeding in his name, and most of all loving as Jesus loves us still. With a love that knows no sacrifice is too big, that everyone is in need of love and deserving of redemption because they are loved by God. Do we get in the way with judgment, selfishness, or even pride? Or do we exhibit the nature of the Good Shepherd and love as He loves, and give as He gives. In doing so, yes, we will suffer at times, but we will also experience and live into the joy of truly knowing Jesus as our Savior and Lord.
Readings: Psalm 119:145-176, Jeremiah 25:30-38, Romans 10:14-21, John 10:1-18
Jeremiah speaks of scattering and slaughtering the shepherds of the flocks because the Nation has gone so far astray. Their sheep-folds will be devastated, by the Lord who will come like a roaring lion and wreak havoc. Yes, this was for a specific time and place among God’s Chosen People who were not living up to their end of the Covenant. They were disobedient. They pursued false gods, did not take care of the sojourner or the down-trodden. They showed contempt for God’s Holy Covenant with them, and so he exiled them, and had them over-run by hostile conquering nations who would abuse them for generations.
Although this was in a world before the redemption that came in Jesus, Christ, I can’t help but see parallels today, and so I pray for the Lord’s mercy to be upon us and for us, at the very least as Christ’s Church, to be faithful Disciples of Jesus Christ who by His grace and power are a force of reconciliation and redemption to the broken nation and world in which we live. Part of our role in this is explained by Paul in Romans 10, for us to speak with our voices and actions the Good News of Jesus Christ. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good-News!” even the dirtiest, smelliest parts of us, our feet, are beautiful to the Lord when we are proclaiming by our words and actions the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Can we take heart in that, and join with Him by reaching out in love to those who don’t know Him and be the joyful voice of the Lord reaching out with and in His love. We have been sent. It is part of our name and identity as Apostles. Lord, give us your courage and power to live into it.
Readings: Psalm 121, 122, 123, Jeremiah 25:8-17, Romans 10:1-13, John 9:18-41
The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. – Romans 10:8-10, 13
We hear this over and over again in Paul’s writing and Jesus’ profession about his disciples. It is so simple and yet so profound. There are times we convolute this and make it more complicated than it is. Of course this ability, for God’s Word to dwell in us, change us and build in us the faith to profess Jesus as our Savior and Lord is all a gift from God. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8.
So the hardest part is accepting the gift. Are there days that this is tough for you? Are there people from whom it is difficult to accept a gift? Can it be that in all those days, tough and easy, and in all those people it is God who is behind the giving? Does knowing that make it any easier? Allow the words of Psalm 121 to soak over you as we acknowledge God is the giver of all good things, especially our salvation:
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
Readings Psalm 31, Jeremiah 24:1-10, Romans 9:19-23, John 9:1-17
Psalm 31, our psalm for today is a prayer of lament, of repentance, of submission and in the end, a prayer of hope.
In it, we hear Jesus dying words on the cross(Luke 23:46), vs 5 "into your hands, I commend my spirit", and indeed as we prayerfully read through this psalm, can hear Jesus praying this entire psalm from the cross as it describes his situation, and likely the human emotions he experienced in his final hours.
Best of all, from the Word of God, we see a human condition of isolation that comes from shame, and it's fulfillment and resolution in Jesus, who came to fulfill all that had come before, every promise presented in the Old Testament, and save us from what isolates us from God and one another by his cross and resurrection.
As we get ready to approach Holy Week, pray this Psalm in come let confidence and hope fm the Alford who loves us, provides for us, and will pay any price to redeem us.
1 In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!
2 Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
3 For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me;
4 you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
6 I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.
7 I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul,
8 and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.
9 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.
11 Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many- terror on every side!- as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God."
15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
16 Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!
17 O LORD, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt.
19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
20 In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city.
22 I had said in my alarm, "I am cut off from your sight." But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.
23 Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
Readings: Psalm 130, Romans 8:1-11, John 11:1-27
There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ
Resurrection people live Eternal Life Now
Collect – Lent 5
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that,
among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Listen to the Message Here →
Readings Psalms 33, 107, Jeremiah 23:9-15, Romans 9:1-18, John 6:60-71
"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68) – Simon Peter knew it and so he knew he had no other viable option in life other than to follow Jesus and cling to him. Perhaps his life was simpler than ours, with less options, less distractions, less good things. This may be the case, but one thing is certain, that neither in Peter’s time or our own are we assured eternal life in any other way than by the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Even other religions that show “paths” to eternal life, Nirvana, Heaven, etc, all show it by way of earning it on our own part by our own mortal wills and means. Jesus’ path isdistinct: “I am the way, the truth and the life” he tells us. Simply by accepting his forgiveness and saving grace, and following him, he gives us the means of eternal life, a life we can start joyfully living today. Let us pray:
O God, you prepared your disciples for the coming of the Spirit through the teaching of your Son Jesus Christ: Make the hearts and minds of your servants ready to receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit, that they may be filled with the strength of his presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Readings Psalms 95, 102, 107, Jeremiah 23:1-8, Romans 8:28-39, John 6:52-59
Vs 31: “What shall we say about these things?” What can we say about a God who loves us so much that he works all things for good in our live, and that there is nothing in all the universe that can separate us from God’s love. Nothing we can do, nothing anyone can do. His love is relentless and he never stops pursuing us as his beloved. We matter to him, and he is faithful in all things. Let us pray:
Everliving God, whose will it is that all should come to you through your Son Jesus Christ: Inspire our witness to him, that all may know the power of his forgiveness and the hope of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Psalms 69, 73, Jeremiah 22:13-23, Romans 8:12-27, John 6:60-71
Paul continues to celebrate the New Life of the Spirit that followers of Jesus enjoy because of his saving work in chapter 8 of the Letter to the Romans. This life in the Spirit gives us the assurance of Hope, that encourages us forward despite the worse that life throws our way, even in the times we don’t know how to turn to God in prayer, the Holy Spirit is there for us to guide our prayers and provide the means for us to connect to the Father. Lord, help me surrender more and more to you, my life, my hopes, my all; more of you Lord and less of me. Increase in me Lord Jesus, as I place my trust in you. Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sin, and have raised us to the new life of grace. Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give us an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.
Readings: Psalms 101, 109, 119:121-144, Jeremiah 18:1-11, Romans 8:1-11, John 6:27-40
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death…If the Spirit of him who raised Christ Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.” Romans 8:1-2, 10-11
“No condemnation,” what a relief. That doesn’t mean I go on sinning, but rather, because I am saved by the grace of God, by faith which is likewise a gift, God the Father sees the righteousness of his holy Son Jesus who paid the price for my sins so I can live into receiving the Holy Spirit and be changed to live more into the likeness of God who created me to be his image bearer in a broken world. It’s all gift, neither deserved nor earned, but given by a loving Father who wants good for his children. I am so grateful for this precious gift, and pray our Lord gives me what I need every day to live into the fullness of the gift. Let us pray:
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully
restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may
share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our
humanity, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Readings: Psalm 97, 99, Jeremiah 17:19-27, Romans 7:13-25, Matthew 14:24-36
From Matthew 14:24-36 - Amidst a storm on the sea, Jesus comes to the disciples walking on the water. He tells them not to be afraid. Peter thought he was ready. He asks Jesus: "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water" and in he goes. At first he is doing fine. His eyes are fixed on Jesus and he walks towards him, then he focusses on his fear of the wind and waves, and down he goes. Jesus is there to lift him up and bring him into the safety of the boat. As they board the wind ceases and the sea is calm. Too often, we like Peter are raring to go where Jesus would have us, but we too get overcome by the storms of life, by the obstacles the enemy hurls at us to erode our faith and build our fear. Jesus beckons us as he beckoned Peter to focus on him, remaining in his will, and walking with him. Do we sometimes forget this and let doubt overcome us. I do. Lord I do believe in you, help me in my times of doubt, when the fear rises up, when I fix my gaze on the storms of life, rather than you and the peace you bring when I acknowledge you are in charge, you care for me (you care for us) and have purpose for each of us that is best realized remaining in your will and in your abiding love.
Build our faith Lord Jesus we pray. Amen.
Readings: Psalm 89, Jeremiah 16:10-21, Ephesians 5:8-14, John 6:1-15
8 at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
The image of light is sprinkled throughout Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “you are light, you are children of light, so your role is to shine into the dark corners of life and show up what is going on. In doing
so, you are acting as agents of Christ himself, the world’s true light, summoning the dead to life, to wake up to God’s new day.”( –N.T Wright) Do we bear out the fruit of this challenge in our lives today? We have made the turn toward home in Lent. In the nearing distance we can see Golgotha, and the garden Tomb in its shadow. Beyond that, the great city of Jerusalem where the Holy Spirit would come in power with a purpose to send the Church to the four corners of the earth. That purpose has not changed. As Children of the Light we are called to live into the fullness of the light of Jesus Christ, living in obedience under His sovereignty, loving with his radical love, and reaching out in love in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, make it so in my life.