Pastoral Care Provider: Vicar Jeremiah T. Heydt
Each week a compilation of the upcoming weeks’ readings is completed as a reference and review. I hope that you find this information helpful in deepening your spiritual understanding and growth.
This Sunday, March 18, 2018 is the 5th Sunday in Lent. In John 12:20-33, Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time to celebrate the Passover festival. Here Jesus’ words about seeds planted in the ground turn the disaster of his death into the promise of a harvest in which everyone will be gathered. Here is part of the message: Jesus responds to their (the Greeks) request of “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Jesus is way more than a mere curiosity for people to study. His answer here in verses 23 to 26 certainly points the Greeks as well as all of us to something above and beyond observers and curiosity seekers. Here we learn, once again, as we’ve learned earlier on our Lenten journey, that life as followers of Jesus INVOLVES NOTHING LESS THAN THE WAY OF THE CROSS. Life with Jesus is one of loving self-sacrifice. Speaking of his imminent death, veiled in parabolic language of a single grain of wheat planted in the ground to die there in order to give life to a new plant, which will bear much fruit—Jesus teaches us all his way of the cross and prepares us for ours too. And millions down through the centuries have discovered the truth of Jesus’ way of the cross.
Sunday March 18, 2018 +
5th Sunday In Lent
A synopsis of the readings for the coming Sunday, what happened in church last week, any other notable events and a Commemoration of the Church
Jeremiah 31:31-34: The Judeans in Babylon blamed their exile on their ancestors, who had broken the covenant established at Sinai. Here the prophet looks to a day when God will make a new covenant with the people. There will be no need to teach the law, because God will write it on their hearts.
Psalm 51:1-12: Create in me a clean heart, O God. (Ps. 51:10)
Hebrews 5:5-10: Using priestly imagery and references to the Old Testament, the author explains how Christ lived in trusting obedience to God, and so God has made Christ the source of our eternal salvation.
John 12:20-33: Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time to celebrate the Passover festival. Here Jesus’ words about seeds planted in the ground turn the disaster of his death into the promise of a harvest in which everyone will be gathered.
The Attraction of the Repellant Cross
Two themes vie for attention in the readings: divine forgiveness (with attention paid to the human sinfulness that makes it necessary!) and the cross’s mysterious power.
Jeremiah prophesies of God’s desire and ability to wipe the slate clean and to come even closer than before, in the form of a “new covenant” with God’s people. But how is this possible? God and God’s people were already as close as husband and wife—one flesh! Even so, God promises to forgive the divorce and forge an even more profound unity and intimacy with God’s people.
The composers of both psalm alternatives (51 and 119) sing of the relief and joy of being forgiven and then taught, sustained, and sanctified by God’s Spirit. Both psalmists testify that relief and joy more than balance the agony of confessing their unworthiness and brokenness and their own culpability for both.
In the gospel, Jesus plants the image of the (dead) seed coming to life and bearing fruit, as a metaphor for his own crucifixion and being “lifted up” on our behalf. The Greeks ask to see Jesus. We might paraphrase Jesus’ oblique response this way: “If you want to see me, first look down into the dirt; then look up to the cross.”
The connection point for the two themes is deep (even intimate) service to the other. Jeremiah tells us that God will come closer to us than a husband to a wife—directly into our hearts! Deep in this mystery we will be known—truly known even beyond our fear of being known—and forgiven and loved. Jesus then promises that through his life in us, we will be drawn into a similar emptying of selves as we enter richly into the lives of others so that they too will know the joy and relief of being known and loved. In this way, confession leads finally to mission.
Prayer of the Day
O God, with steadfast love you draw us to yourself, and in mercy you receive our prayers. Strengthen us to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, that through life and death we may live in your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
What Happened In Church Last Week
- What do we know about gifts?
- What was the greatest gift you ever received?
- What was the Greatest gift given to us?
First Communion is Sunday April 1st
Bring your bells to ring during Easter Worship
The Church Commemorates
Joseph, Guardian of Jesus
The gospels are silent about much of Joseph’s life. We know that he was a carpenter or builder by trade. The gospel of Luke shows him as acting in accordance with both civil and religious law by returning to Bethlehem for the census and by presenting the child Jesus in the temple on the fortieth day after his birth. The Gospel of Matthew tells of Joseph’s trust in God, who led him through visionary dreams. Because Joseph is not mentioned after the story of a young Jesus teaching in the temple, it is assumed that he died before Jesus reached adulthood.
See You In Church This Sunday !!!!!! The Lord Be With You