Sunday March 4, 2018
Year B, Third Sunday in Lent
Third Sunday in Lent :: Purple ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 19
L: The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul;
P: the decrees of the LORD are sure, making wise the simple;
L: The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
P: the commandment of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eyes.
L: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable,
P: O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Almighty and wondrous God, you gave us your law from Mount Sinai. We have heard it and seek to heed it. Though we know that as a creation people have failed to completely keep your law, our knowledge of it gives us comfort. Your precepts and guidance give our lives structure and strength. As we continue our Lenten Journey, turning our faces to Jerusalem, we ask again for your guidance and blessing. Help us to know in this time of worship your presence, your comfort, and your truth.
Today’s reading from the Gospel of John is one of those times we get a little uncomfortable. Jesus is cleansing the temple of the moneychangers. It is hard to see him angry and violent. It is hard in the midst of that image to talk about offerings. Yet we need to remember that the issue with the moneychangers was not the nature of the gifts, it was the abuse of the givers. People had made a business out of making others offerings seem inferior. Here, in this church, whatever you bring before God will be received thankfully and with a blessing. Come with confidence that the gifts you bring are received in the joy of the Lord. We will now receive the tithes and offerings which will be used to glorify God.
O God of every good gift. You have given us so much, and we return our tithes and offerings as a sign of our awareness of your blessing. Unlike the moneychangers of old, we trust in you O God, to make these offerings pure and righteous. We ask your blessing upon both the gifts and the givers, that you will use them for your purposes: that your reign on earth will be increased. We offer this prayer, now and forever in Christ’s holy name.
In First Corinthians, the Apostle Paul writes about the cross being foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us, who are being saved it is the power of God. As we come to this table, we come as people who recognize that without the cross this table would have no meaning. We recognize and remember the mighty acts God has done through Jesus life, death, and resurrection to save the world from sin. As we come let us remember then, the wisdom of God, and God’s unique understanding of the folly of humanity. Come and remember that God is good.
All material copyright 2018 The Jubilee Fund, Inc., and appears on this site via a partnership agreement with the Center for Faith and Giving. Permission granted to reproduce and use any of the above for Churches and Congregations to the glory of God without requirement of compensation or notification.
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