Sunday February 25, 2018
Year B, Second Sunday in Lent
Second Sunday in Lent :: Purple ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 22
L: All who honor the LORD, praise the LORD!
P: All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD;
L: The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
P: All the families of the nations shall worship before the LORD.
L: For dominion belongs to the LORD;
P: Who rules over the nations.
We come before you, O God, on this the day we set aside to worship. We come in faith, seeking to know your will. When you tell us of that which seems to us folly, help us to see your truth. When we encounter the strength of your covenant, help us to hold fast to your grace. When we encounter you, O God, help us to know your love and mercy. We come before you in faith, let us go forth from this time renewed.
The Apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans that Abraham’s faith was “reckoned to him as righteousness.” While Abraham did many things which attested to his faith, one of my personal favorites was his gift to Melchizedek, a priest of the LORD most high, to honor his victory near Damascus. Melchizedek brought bread and wine. Abraham gave him one tenth of everything. We can presume it was reckoned to him as righteousness. As we come before not just the priest of the LORD most high, but the LORD most high, we bring our gifts: what do you reckon is righteous? We will now receive the tithes and offerings brought to give thanks and honor to the LORD most high.
O God who gives life, O God who brings us new life: we offer to you these gifts, recognizing that all of our victories are gifts from you. Take these offerings, we pray, and use them to glorify your name from our doorsteps to the ends of the earth.
Today’s Gospel reading reminds us that Jesus told his Disciples that he must suffer and die, yet Peter rebuked him, wishing it were not so. Jesus, of course, tells Peter “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things, but human things.” It is human and natural to not want to see Jesus suffering. It is human to want him physically near. Yet the divine thought, the very thought which brings power to the celebration at this table is not human. Thank God! No, really, let’s pause a second and thank God. Because of God’s willingness to do what was beyond the imagination of humans for the forgiveness of all, we gather at this table.
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Scripture Quotations from the New Revised Standard Version. Online Scripture links a service of the Jean and Alexander Heard Divinity Library, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN. Check out all of the awesome resources there at http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu