Theme: No Matter What
Lectionary Citations: Numbers 21:4-9, Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22, Ephesians 2:1-10, John 3:14-21
Getting out of the car, the father said to the son, behave and mind your grandmother. “Yes daddy, said the little boy, “I’ll be good.”
The child and his grandmother greeted each other the way they always did with a hug, kiss and by saying, I love you.
“Go play with your indoor toys while I finish getting your lunch ready”, said the grandmother. “Ok” was the reply. Once in the playroom the child spotted the basketball hoop by the patio door. “Can I play basketball?” “No that is an outside game. After lunch I will take the hoop outside and you can play basketball”, was the reply.
Things were quiet for a few minutes and then there was a loud crash. Rushing in to the room the grandmother spotted the broken pictures and vase on the floor with the basketball close by. Crying the little boy said, “I didn’t want to wait to play basketball. I didn’t think I would break anything. I’m sorry.
Yes, the grandmother was angry, but before she could say anything, the child said, “Do you still love me?” The grandmother hugged the child told him he had misbehaved and said, “no matter what you do, I will always love you.”
Aren’t we too often just like that little child? We are impatient and don’t wait for the appropriate time to do something. Regardless as to how many things we have we always want more. Even when we know it’s wrong, we often say or do something that hurts someone else. Nevertheless, when we confess and ask for forgiveness God grants us mercy.
During this Lenten season, in this time of giving up, let us give up some of the things that separate us from Christ. Let us give up selfishness and our own desires for perceived power. Let us rid our vocabularies of complaints and angry words. Let us give up moving too quickly and without thinking.
Each day we wake up, God is giving us a new opportunity to experience once more the love that is extended to us. But love isn’t selfish. Love is meant to be shared and given freely to others. Each day we have the opportunity to share this love, grace and salvation with others. Each day we can be Christ on earth for someone. Each day we can say a kind word, share a smile, show compassion and extend Christ to those who are in need. There is so much hurt and injustice in the world, and we can make a difference by fighting for the rights of all, recognizing and discouraging injustice and developing ministries that will give peace, sanctuary and assistance to those in need.
In all things that we say and do let us remember that God loved us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to walk this earth, teach, preach, then suffer and die for our sins that we might have eternal life. This salvation is not just for us but for everyone.
The doors of our churches stand open to welcome everyone. No matter what their circumstances are, no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey you are welcome in God’s house. Extending hospitality and the love of Christ is what is asked of us.
God loves us no matter! Wow, what a statement. Live each day with that knowledge and share the love to all we encounter.
PRAYER OF RECONCILIATION
O God of Comfort and God of Challenge, we come to you this morning the way the Israelites did, full of complaints and dissatisfaction.
Nothing is enough; we do not recognize your blessing at work in our day to day lives.
Forgive us when we become so comfortable that we moan and groan about the most insignificant details of our lives.
In our complaints, challenge us as you did the Israelites, to consider the bigger picture of oppression, injustice, and inequality around us.
Forgive us when we close our eyes for fear of what you might show us; keep sending loving and compassionate leaders to open our eyes until we see what you see in our world.
ASSURANCE OF BLESSING
You are blessed because God’s image resides deep within each of you.
So return God’s blessing by the way you love others
Let us rejoice: God so loves the world!
May God your Maker send you back into the world with creative energies refreshed.
May Christ the Light illuminate your darkest moments.
And may the Holy Spirit of steadfast love guide you until we worship together again.
This day and forevermore.
- Jesus Loves me
- They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love
Prayers and Benediction from UCC Worship Ways. Copyright 2012 Local Church Ministries, Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.