March 2021

Sunday 7th March: Third Sunday of Lent: John 2: 13-17

When the Jewish Passover was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  In the temple courts He found men selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and money changers seated at their tables.  So He made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle. He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.  To those selling doves He said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn My Father’s house into a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for Your house will consume Me.”

Over the years the temple had changed from being a place of worship to somewhere people had to buy sacrifices before they could pray, with animals and tradespeople much in evidence.  Jesus was outraged – as well he might be.  We too would be if this happened in our churches today, but it wasn’t just the animals Jesus was unhappy about.  The sellers would charge great prices to those buying, regardless of what they could afford, and it was a place of dishonesty rather than a peaceful place where everyone was welcomed.

Do we make everyone feel welcome – In our church? In our home? At work?  Or do we sometimes set up barriers so that people feel intimidated or not ‘part of’ everything'.  What can you do this week to ensure that everyone you meet feels the warmth of your welcome – even if we are still in lockdown!

 

Sunday 14th March: Mothering Sunday: Luke 2: 33-35

The Child’s father and mother were amazed at what was spoken about Him.  Then Simeon blessed them and said to His mother Mary: “Behold, this Child is appointed to cause the rise and fall of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed— and a sword will pierce your soul as well.”

On this Sunday we remember mothers throughout the world, but particularly our own, giving us a chance to appreciate all they do and have done for us.  It has evolved over the years into a day of flowers and presents – a far cry from its original purpose which was when domestic servants were given a day off to return home to see their mother, and this year this is the one aspect of the day which may well not be possible.

We can express our gratitude however – for what mothers, and for what other people do for us.  Perhaps at this time we can particularly remember those who are working hard to make life easier during lockdown – the tradespeople who have kept working throughout; the hardworking health workers and carers who continue serve their community;  the delivery people who come to us when we cannot go to them;  the list is endless – can we make the day special for them with a smile and thank you? 

 

Sunday 21st March: 5th Sunday of Lent: Passion Sunday:  John 12:  20-33

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the feast.  They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and requested of him, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.”  Philip relayed this appeal to Andrew, and both of them went and told Jesus. But Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Truly, truly, I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  Whoever loves his life will lose it, but whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, My servant will be as well. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him. …….

The Greeks had heard about Jesus, and they wanted to know more.  Who was this man who was preaching, teaching and healing as no-one had ever done before.  Today, though we cannot see Jesus in the flesh, we know so much from the Bible, from writings over the centuries, and from our families, the church and from teachers.  But do we really know Jesus personally. He calls us and wants to come to each one of us individually and be part of our lives; to be an active part of all we think, say and do.

Do you feel you know Jesus?  During Lent we look at the way we respond to God’s call in our lives – so can we ‘take up our cross’ – say Yes to his calling - and really follow where he wants us to go?  He is there to help us.

 

Sunday 28th March:  Palm Sunday: Mark 11: 1-10

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as soon as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here.  If anyone asks, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it shortly.’ ” So they went and found the colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. They untied it, and some who were standing there asked, “Why are you untying the colt?” The disciples answered as Jesus had instructed them, and the people gave them permission.  Then they led the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, and He sat on it. Many in the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut from the fields.  The ones who went ahead and those who followed were shouting: “Hosanna!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!”

It must have been quite an exciting scene – the people realised something different was happening and gathered to see Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.  First one, and then another, cried Hosanna – which meant Save now -  and the mood of the crowd intensified as they threw down palms and cloaks before the man they thought might be coming to do just that.  But what they expected, and what actually happened were far apart.  Jesus was indeed coming to save them, but not as a soldier or a king.  He came to die a cruel death on a cross – to save the world and its people from their sins once and for all and bring them closer to God.

Do we now accept and believe that Jesus did come into the world to save us – each one of us – from the consequences of our sin?  Can we say Yes to God for his great sacrifice, and let him take control of our lives? 

 

 




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