Prayer: Loving God, we know that You have already forgiven us of all our sins through the death and resurrection of Your Son. But today we bring to You all our sins that are creating a burden upon our hearts of love. Please forgive us Lord of all the things we have left unsaid. Please forgive us Lord of all the things we said and then wished we didn’t. Please forgive us Lord of all the things we have left undone this day. But in everything, we know that we are forgiven. We know that each day we are made new in Your love. In Christ’s name. Amen.
Read St. Luke 8: 1- 15
Today is Ash Wednesday… the day when we ask God to forgive us from our whining and complaining and short vision and turn again to God’s love. Lent is forty days long, not including Sundays. Lent is a time to do seriously looking at ourselves… our actions… our thoughts… our vision and then turn to God, asking for forgiveness and newness of God’s joy.
Sin. That leads us directly into Ash Wednesday. In the Middle Ages and still today, people go to Church and ask God for forgiveness. They hand God their sins and say, “Please forgive me”. Then as a visual sign that they are forgiven, the Minister draws a cross on their foreheads using ashes. Usually the ashes are the burned remains of last year’s palm branches. As Presbyterians we don’t usually have Ash Wednesday Worship nor do we place the sign of the cross on our foreheads. Instead we spend time in prayer and reflection asking God for forgiveness.
Some Denominations take Lent as a time of fasting or giving up something special (like chocolate). As Presbyterians we do not give anything up but instead we add. We add more time for prayer and mediation upon the scriptures and worship.
Today we will be reflecting upon the Parable of the Sower/Story of the Seeds. Jesus, the Disciples, and some other followers are travelling from town to town preaching God’s kingdom. At one point, Jesus stops and tells everyone the Story of the Seeds (read
St. Luke 8: 4 – 15).
The Disciples are stumped and ask Jesus, “Why did you tell us this story?” And Jesus responds, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom – you know how it works. There are others who need stories. But even with stories some of them aren’t going to get it.” (The Message, NavPress, 2005).
How do we share God’s kingdom today? How do we share the stories of Jesus? Through Worship and Bible Study. This means that our Worship must be the focus of our Church. Those who read the Scriptures must practice during the week reading the Scriptures out loud. There is nothing worse than sitting in a pew cringing over some’s poor reading because they didn’t pre-read out loud the Scriptures for the day. Or cringing over hearing Biblical names and places being incorrectly spoken. Please, those who read the Bible each Sunday – pre-read your Scriptures out loud early in the week, dig into the text, know how to pronounce all those Biblical names and places, and most importantly keep the Scriptures and your reading in your prayers. The sharing of the stories of Jesus begins with you. Do it well so that our sharing glorifies our Lord and Saviour.
Prayer: Loving God, we know that You have already forgiven us of all our sins through the death and resurrection of Your Son. We know that each day we are made new in Your love. And through Your love, help us to recognize how to share Your Kingdom. In Christ’s name. Amen.