MESSAGE: Second Sunday of Lent – 13 March 2022
INTERGENERATIONAL SERVICE MESSAGE:
Today we’re going to learn some important lessons from Psalm 27.
Psalms were songs that the Israelites used to sing to God a long time ago. Some of the songs were about happy times and some were about hard times.
Psalm 27 was written by King David during a hard time in his life. The point of the song was all about being trusting in God.
Even though David was scared, he knew that God would help him get through a difficult time.
Do you know that this is true for us today, too? We don’t have to live in fear or wonder if God will help us when we’re scared of the darkness.
The Bible says that God is always with us and he will never leave us. In fact, he wants us to bring our fears and concerns to him because he loves us and wants to help us.
Like King David, we can trust in God. So, no matter what you’re facing in your life, whether it’s dealing with friends who are being mean or an illness, or making a big decision, God is with you and he will help you to get through it. Jesus is our light that leads us and guides us and dispels the darkness:
7am THEMES: TRUST
TRUST in the Gospel life that endures through the worst times and that empowers us in the best times.
Today’s Scripture readings remind us of the enduring faithfulness of God. If only our faith were strong enough to trust God every moment! Through the Scriptures, we discover that God stays with us even in our doubt. Be inspired by these striking images of comfort: the Lord protects me (Psalm 27); Jesus seeks to gather us under his wings (Luke 13). Through the coming of Jesus Christ, we know firsthand the power of God’s kept promises!
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18: Abram’s faith leads him into relationship with God (righteousness) & God makes a covenant with Abram, promising him that he will have a son to be his heir, and descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky.
Psalm 27: A song of assurance for God’s protection and care, expressing the longing to live in God’s sanctuary and find refuge there. In addition, the psalmist asks for God’s mercy and rescue from his enemies.
Philippians 3:17-4:1: Paul’s encouragement for believers to stay true for the sake of Christ, and to remember their heavenly priorities, following his example of faithfulness.
Luke 13:31-35: Jesus is warned that Herod wants to kill him, and dismisses this as his face is set toward Jerusalem. Then he laments over the city which fails to heed the prophets.
Today’s reading is a strange one, which takes some careful thought to understand. It begins with a group of Pharisees warning Jesus of Herod’s intention to kill him. We are not sure why they would do this, but their words are significant: “Get away from here if you want to live!” What they didn’t realise is that living was not the first priority on Jesus’ agenda – loving was. Jesus uses metaphors, in his response, that show where his commitment lay.
To begin with he refers to Herod as “that fox” and the people of Jerusalem as “chicks.” Of course, foxes are predators for chickens, and so this is a clear warning of the danger Herod posed to the people of Israel at that time. Herod ruled as king under the authority of Rome and was seen as a traitor to his people. Any resistance to his rule would be quickly and ruthlessly dealt with. Jesus, on the other hand, seeks to be like a mother hen to the people – protecting them even with his own life. Yet, the people seem determined to avoid his way of peace and life and embrace their own destruction.
Nevertheless, what is amazing here is the way Jesus, reading the signs of the situation very clearly, remained committed to love, knowing it would take him to his death. The challenge this raises for us this week is this: To what extent are we committed to love above all things? How can we embrace the call to love in a stronger way?
Most of us, when faced with people who reject our help and end up in trouble, would say they deserved it. We would feel justified in writing those people off and turning our attention to our own needs and concerns.
But this is not the way of Jesus. In today’s reading, Jesus expresses his longing to protect and care for God’s people.
But he also recognises that the people are not interested in his offer. They prefer the ways of collaboration with power, or rebellion against power, to the way of peace and love.
Jesus knows that the people will ultimately reject his message of simplicity, generosity, justice, and peace, and that they will reject him. He knows that if he continues on his way of love he will die, and that for most of the people of the city, his death will mean nothing. Yet, in spite of all this, he refuses to reject the people and protect himself. Not even the people’s rejection is enough to make him stop loving and serving them. When Jesus preached that love for God and for neighbour (including enemies) was God’s highest command, he meant it, and he lived it all the way to the cross and beyond.
It may not feel like it but choosing to love others irrespective of their attitude or actions toward us is a tremendously liberating and healing thing. This is the way that Jesus demonstrated for us, and to which he calls us. How can you practice this relentless love in your own life today?
Forgiveness often feels like weakness. It can seem like we’re allowing others to take advantage of us, and we’re failing to demand the justice we need. But the truth is that failing to forgive is what makes us weak and unjust, and leaves us at the mercy of others.
Today, whenever you are tempted to choose justice, vengeance, or rejection over love, speak words of forgiveness, and cling to love even more.
When I am rejected or attacked, Jesus, teach me to follow your example of relentless love.