St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church: Third Sunday in Lent
Mar 07, 2013 | 527 views | 0 0 comments | 294 294 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Response: Psalm 63:1-8 was led by David Maitland. *(Verse 7) “For you have been my helper, and under the shadow of your wings I will rejoice.”

The First Reading was read by Arthur Clark: Exodus 3:1-15. God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and spoke to him. God tells Moses that he sees the misery of his people in Egypt and wants Moses to lead them out and take them to the Promised Land. Moses asked what he should tell his people God’s name is. God replied, “I Am Who I Am.” God also said to tell them He is the God of their ancestors.

The Second Reading was read by John Greve from 1Corinthians 10: 1-13. Paul reminds them of their ancestors and how God had led them, but when he was not pleased with them, he led them to the wilderness for a time to repent. Paul told them to use this as an example of how God wants them to live but what will happen if they do evil. Do not be idolaters, do not indulge in sexual immorality, and do not test Christ. “God is faithful and will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it,”

Reverend James Abernathy read the Gospel according to Luke 13:1-9. Some of Jesus’ followers questioned him regarding the sacrifice of Galileans’ blood by Pilate and also the 18 who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them. They asked if this was because they were worse sinners. Jesus answered them, “No.” Jesus did say that they must repent of their sins, or they may perish also. He then told the parable of the fig tree which had not produced fruit in three years. When told to cut it down, the man asked for another year to care for it and see if it would produce then. If it bears fruit that next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.

Reverend Abernathy remarked that there had probably been burning bushes in our lives all along the way and we had just not stopped to investigate what their meanings were. God tries to get our attention to tell us something, but we often ignore it. We need to listen more carefully and see what God wants us to do.

The parable of the fig tree in St. Luke is another example of how God wants us to grow and bear fruit for him. Again, we often go along doing our own thing and not listening to what God wants us to produce. We are given chances to repent of our ways and follow God’s calling. Then he will bless us and make us fruitful. Those who ignore God’s pleading will perish by the wayside. Just as the fig tree needed care by watering and fertilizing, our spirits need nurturing by studying God’s Word and his teachings.

These two episodes of the Galileans’ deaths were committed by cruel rulers and a natural disaster. We want to ask why bad things happen to good people. Jesus loves us all the same, but evil is evil and love is love. We tend to think that there is some connection between bad happenings and the people it happens to. We want answers. We want them to be rational and clear. This is not how God works. He does not turn about good and bad. However, God will not let anything happen to us that he did not let happen to his own Son, Jesus. The Gospel is true and God is with us from the beginning to the end. You may offer a deal to God, but He does not make deals. We must take life as it is. We are not always given answers, but the sacrifice of Christ tells us how much he loves us, and he will always be by our side. He walks with us daily in our trials and tribulations wanting to give us strength and courage. His response is that He gave his life for you and me.

PIM web site.
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