Tag Archives: Lent

Willingly

Readings for 3rd Sunday in Lent

Exodus 17: 1-7, Romans 5: 1-11 & John 4: 5-42

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Wednesday 15th March

So beset by our quarrels, our worst brought out of us by our fears, and wondering where we are on our journey, this Sunday St Paul delivers the tonic we need. Bringing us back from wallowing in what is wrong – with the world, with our little corner of it or with ourselves – we are reminded of what we need. What we need is hope – and hope whose foundations lay not in our own navigational skills for the journey, and not in our own ability to rise unaided above our human condition. Hope based on the sacrifice of Jesus. We stand in grace.

We hope not in spite of the difficulties and struggles of being human, but we hope through our struggles because of the love which God has poured into our hearts.

We did not earn the sacrifice which Christ willingly made for us – but still he made it. We didn’t even repent first. God did not blackmail or cajole us into our salvation. While we were still sinners, God gave everything, willingly and without reservation, for love of us.

Question: When we see ourselves in this light, see our value to the God of all creation, how will we respond?

 Prayer: Loving God, help me to see my value as you see it today. Give me hope in my struggles, and help me to follow you. Amen.

 

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Our Worst?

Readings for 3rd Sunday in Lent

Exodus 17: 1-7, Romans 5: 1-11 & John 4: 5-42

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Tuesday 14th March

I wonder if each of us knows what brings out the worst in us, and I wonder if we would admit it if we do? When the Israelites are following  Moses in the wilderness, a people liberated from slavery by God’s miraculous intervention, it is their thirst for water that starts to bring out the worst in them. It is their thirst for water that erodes their trust in Moses as their leader, and in God, despite all they have experienced. To be fair this comes as no surprise – this is a life and death issue – and it is these issues that challenge our humanity most.

We will hear on Sunday of how they quarrelled with Moses and tested God; but I imagine that first they would have quarrelled amongst themselves.     As water became scarce they would perhaps look at their community, their friends, their families, with envious eyes, harsh words and surreptitious  actions. But God is a God of compassion. He responds to the envy and squabbling of our communities, to our lack of trust – not by withdrawing from us, but by giving more. The rock is split, and living water flows from it. Christ’s life is given, and all things become possible.

Question: What situations bring out the worst in me? How can trusting God more help me deal with this?

 Prayer: God of our ancestors, help us trust in you, to turn from our deepest fears, to your life giving love. Amen.

 

A Dry Place.

Readings for 3rd Sunday in Lent

Exodus 17: 1-7, Romans 5: 1-11 & John 4: 5-42

Monday 13th March

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When we hear of time spent in the wilderness, what do we picture? An arid dry place? Somewhere familiar, or a landscape beyond our experience? We live in one of the most built up areas in our country, but an area where we are never far from the moors. I wonder what landscape we picture?   I wonder if a distant wilderness is more frightening because of its unknown dangers, or if it is the desolation of the familiar moors which strikes us cold, because we may be only too aware of its dangers.

In Sunday’s reading from Exodus, God’s people are travelling from the wilderness “by stages”, and journeying towards the place God has   promised them. There is danger, there is risk. There is the known and   the unknown. And there is God.

Question: As we find ourselves in the middle of Lent 2017, I wonder what stage of the journey from wilderness to promise we find ourselves at.   Are we in the middle of a journey from unbelief to faith? We may be   confident of our direction and hopeful of our destination – or we may find ourselves unable to see an end to the wilderness of work, stress, anxiety and pressure.

Prayer: Creator God, you are the God of my everyday, the close & familiar – and you are the God of the wilderness places in my life and heart. Open the eyes of my heart to feel your presence on this journey. Amen.

 

 

 

Spirit and Fire

Readings for 2nd Sunday in Lent
Genesis 12: 1-4a, Romans 4: 1-5; 13-17 and Matthew 3.1-12

Saturday 11th March12
In his Commission to his disciples, Jesus tells them to make disciples of all nations in the power of his name, and to baptise them. The baptism bit often gets overlooked. We are baptised once, and through it we enter The Church, The Body of Christ. It has meaning beyond the social occasions so often seen these days at baptism services as the reading from Matthew reminds us: we are baptised with the Holy Spirit and fire. This is not an occasion simply of cute welcome, but of being purified for God. And although we are baptised only once, we need to keep re-entering its reality over again. Come Holy Spirit in all your power.

Turn Again

Readings for 2nd Sunday in Lent
Genesis 12: 1-4a, Romans 4: 1-5; 13-17 and Matthew 3.1-12

11Friday 10th March

“Repent for the Kingdom of God has come near.” Repent. Take some time today and consider where you have turned away from God and other people, ask the Holy Spirit to shed light on those areas which are hidden and which you might avoid thinking about. And then repent – ask for God’s forgiveness in the knowledge that he will cleanse you. And turn and return endlessly towards God. Seek those things which build and avoid those things which destroy. And when you get it wrong, which you will, turn again to God. “Repent for the Kingdom of God has come near.”

 

Bridge or Hinge

Readings for 2nd Sunday in Lent
Genesis 12: 1-4a, Romans 4: 1-5; 13-17 and Matthew 3.1-12

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Thursday 9th March

John the Baptist seems like a hinge or maybe a bridge. He joins together the Old and the New Testaments, echoing the Old Testament prophet Elijah to prepare the way for Jesus in the New Testament. John is also a bridge between Jesus and those who are distant from him. Repent and be baptised he proclaims in order help people to cross the bridge and encounter Christ. One of the Church’s roles is to be a bridge or a hinge: holding together different elements of society, speaking out for all, and being at the interface between God and all humanity. Let us reach out to God even as we reach out to others so that people may touch upon the life of Christ through us.

 

 

 

Key to Grace

Readings for 2nd Sunday in Lent
Genesis 12: 1-4a, Romans 4: 1-5; 13-17 and Matthew 3.1-12

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Wednesday 8th March
In his Letter to the Romans Paul talks about the faith which keys in to the grace of God and saves us. The word faith has many connotations, it can simply mean a belief. The word faith is linked to the word faithful, and I am reminded of how a faithful dog of sticks with her owner. Or maybe a faithful husband or wife or friend who sticks up for you even when times are bad and difficult. We need to be full of faith – we need to be faithful. When God seems far away, when our belief wavers, when times test us, when people let us down, when unjust suffering strikes; then we need to stick with God, just as he sticks with us.