THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

SUNDAY 7TH MARCH 2021


OPENING SENTENCE

– The statutes of the Lord are just and rejoice the heart.

HYMN

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.

Amen. Lord, have mercy.

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CONFESSION

God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ that we have sinned in thought, word and deed, and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins, and deliver us from the power of evil, for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION

God, who is both power and love, forgive you and free you from our sins, heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit, and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

LENTEN PROSE/KYRIE

sung by Billy Dewar Riddick

COLLECT

Merciful Father,we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves,when we are discouraged by our weakness,give us strength to follow Christ,our pattern and our hope; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen

PROCLAIMING & RECEIVING GOD’S WORD

FIRST READING

EXODUS 20:1-17 read by Amie Byers

Then God spoke all these words:

Free download | Ten Commandments, dante 2 transparent background PNG  clipart | HiClipart

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

honor the sabbath day

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore, the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

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  • You shall not murder.
  • You shall not commit adultery.
  • You shall not steal.
  • You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
  • You shall not covet your neighbour’s house;
  • You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

SECOND READING

1 CORINTHIANS 1:18-25 – read by Robyn Brotherston


Power of God! | Christian Wallpapers

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

GRADUAL HYMN 

GOSPEL

John 2: 13-22 read by Reverend Chris Wren

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St John chapter 2 beginning at verse 13

Glory to Christ our Saviour

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”

Currency During Jesus' Time

His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord

 SERMON

man holding telephone screaming

Anger is a powerful emotion that we all have. We all have different anger buttons that get pushed from time to time. What makes you angry; what makes me angry? Some things that make me angry are quite deep and profound, whilst others are trivial and selfish. I really get angry at any form of injustice and cruelty, especially towards children and animals. Poverty in the world at large angers and upsets me, particularly after witnessing it first hand in Africa and more recently seeing images on my computer screen of malnourished children and adults in Yemen. The ecological damage – the harm to the environment, to sea, animal and human life, due to the mismanagement of creation- angers me. Other things that anger me are: people who trample over you in order to achieve their own ends; people who seek to be offended and play “the poor me syndrome” in our blame culture, where increasingly people seek to find faults in others; people who spoil the countryside by leaving litter around or treating it as a dumping ground. We all have different anger thresholds and what angers one person may not another. Are we ever justified in our anger? Was Jesus’ justified in his anger in the temple in today’s Gospel account?

Before attempting to answer those questions, it is worth noting that this temple story features in all four gospels, indicating its importance. John puts the temple account at the beginning of the gospel because for John, it is a metaphor for the ministry of Jesus in its totality. What John understands is that Jesus came to renew the Jewish faith; to challenge the institutional views of God and to bring passion and purity back into the worship of God. More than likely though this account happened in Holy Week as Jesus was going to Jerusalem for the Passover.

8,704 Passover Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Pesah celebration concept (jewish Passover holiday)

The Passover was the greatest of all the Jewish feasts. The law laid it down that every adult male Jew, who lived within fifteen miles of Jerusalem was bound to attend it. But it was not only the Jews in Palestine who came to the Passover. By this time Jews were scattered all over the world, but they never forgot their ancestral faith and their ancestral land; and it was the dream and aim of every Jew, no matter in what land he stayed, to celebrate at least one Passover in Jerusalem. Astonishing as it may sound, it is likely that as many as two and a quarter million Jews sometimes assembled in the Holy City to keep the Passover.

The Passover was a time for peak business for all the religious artefacts traders, selling lambs, oxen and pigeons for sacrifice and appropriate food for that season and all the other bits and pieces that would be associated with temple worship. Temple worship was at the heart of Jewish society. To the extent that there was a tax that every Jew over nineteen years of age must pay. That was the Temple tax.  It was necessary that all should pay that tax so that the Temple sacrifices and the Temple ritual might be carried out day by day.

6+ Free Israeli Shekels & Shekel Photos - Pixabay

As William Barclay in his commentary points out, the tax was one half-shekel. We must always remember, when we are thinking of sums of money, that at this time a working man’s wage was about less than 4 pence per day. The value of a half-shekel was about 6p. It was, therefore, equivalent to almost two days’ wages. For all ordinary purposes in Palestine all kinds of currency were valid. Silver coins from Rome and Greece and Egypt and Tyre and Sidon and Palestine itself all were in circulation and all were valid. But the Temple tax had to be paid either in Galilean shekels or in shekels of the sanctuary. These were Jewish coins, and so could be used as a gift to the Temple; the other currencies were foreign and so were unclean; they might be used to pay ordinary debts, but not a debt to God.

As you can well imagine pilgrims arrived from all over the world with all kinds of coins. So, in the Temple courts there sat the money-changers. If their trade had been straightforward, they would have been fulfilling an honest and a necessary purpose. But what they did was to charge one ma’ah, a coin worth about one pence, for every half-shekel they changed, and to charge another ma’ah on every half-shekel of change they had to give if a larger coin was tendered. So, if a man came with a coin the value of which was two shekels, he had to pay 1 pence to get it changed, and other three pence to get his change of three half-shekels. In other words, the money-changers made four pence out of him–and that, remember, was one day’s wage.

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The wealth which accrued from the Temple tax and from this method of money-changing was fantastic. The annual revenue of the Temple from the Temple tax has been estimated at 75,000 British pounds, and the annual profit of the money-changers at 9,000 British pounds. The fact that the money-changers received some discount when they changed the coins of the pilgrims was not in itself wrong. The Talmud laid it down: “It is necessary that everyone should have half a shekel to pay for himself. Therefore, when he comes to the exchange to change a shekel for two half-shekels, he is obliged to allow the money-changer some gain.” What enraged Jesus was that pilgrims to the Passover who could ill afford it, were being fleeced at an exorbitant rate by the money-changers. It was a rampant and shameless social injustice–and what was worse, it was being done in the name of religion.

Besides the money-changers there were also the sellers of oxen, sheep and doves. Frequently a visit to the Temple meant a sacrifice. Many a pilgrim would wish to make thank-offering for a favourable journey to the Holy City; and most acts and events in life had their appropriate sacrifice. It might therefore seem to be a natural and helpful thing that the victims for the sacrifices could be bought in the Temple court. It might well have been so. But the law was that any animal offered in sacrifice must be perfect and unblemished. The Temple authorities had appointed inspectors (mumcheh) to examine the victims which were to be offered. The fee for inspection was one pence.

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If a worshipper bought a victim outside the Temple, it was to all intents and purposes certain that it would be rejected after examination. Again, that might not have mattered much, but a pair of doves could cost as little as 4 pence outside the Temple, and as much as 75 pence inside. Here again was bare-faced extortion at the expense of poor and humble pilgrims, who were practically blackmailed into buying their victims from the Temple booths if they wished to sacrifice at all–once more a glaring social injustice aggravated by the fact that it was perpetrated in the name of pure religion.

3 Ways “Temple” Thinking Still Infects the Church Today | Josh Daffern

Furthermore, the hiero (the holy or sacred) included the whole temple complex and these vendors were almost surely located in the Court of the Gentiles, the outer precincts of the Temple. Previously they were located in the Kidron valley, but the scholar Epstein says that the high priest Caiaphas permitted his supporters to move their stalls to the temple as a way of avenging himself against rivals in the Sanhedrin, if this is the case, then there were a large number of people offended by this commerce in the temple.  Caiaphas rivals were not alone in their opposition to this offense in the temple area. Nobody stopped Jesus emptying the temple of commerce perhaps because many were pleased to see it go. Imagine though how angry Caiaphas must have been to have his authority challenged in this manner.

Now we begin to get some understanding of why Jesus acted as he did. Jesus loved God, he loved God’s children, and it was impossible for him to stand passively by while the worshippers of Jerusalem were treated in this way. It would be wrong to say that Jesus got caught in the heat of the moment. He made a cord which would take time. This was no heat of the moment event but rather it was an act of disruption.  This act cut to the core of the historic Jewish faith and all it stood for. It was a moment of crisis for the people of God. Jesus was saying that the old way of doing faith was no longer appropriate; that the heart of faith had been lost in ritualism, that it was passion for God that sold out, not pigeons for sacrifice.

Free Bible images of Jesus cleansing the Temple by overturning the money changers' tables and drivin… | Jesus cleanses the temple, Money changers, Free bible images

True faith cannot be expressed through empty rituals, rather the rituals we undertake must be an expression of the real worship of our lives- everything else is foolishness! By the time Jesus visited the temple that day, the Jewish nation had lost sight of the difference. Their purity issues had become rituals of discrimination: Jews in the inner courts; Gentiles in the outer courts; men in one section; women in another; sacrifices the poor could not afford; sacrifices the rich could afford. In the beauty of the ritual, the heart of purity, the passion for God had been lost and it was this that made Jesus angry and as a prophet and as God’s Son he had to make a stance against this treatment of God’s house as “a den of robbers”.

Was Jesus justified in his anger? I believe that he was justified in his anger in that it was not a selfish anger but one that was generated from a concern for God and his house, and one that fought against discrimination and extortion. Is our anger ever justified? Our anger may well be justified, when it not selfish; when it is genuinely standing up against discrimination, oppression, injustice and poverty. However justified our anger may be, in my mind, anger should never spill into violence. Jesus drove out the animals and upturned the tables as a symbolic act of cleansing.

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In this Lenten season we examine ourselves to see if there is anything offensive within us. Are we just going through the motions of worship? Are our rituals empty, devoid of the passion of God? Is there anything in our church life-an exclusiveness, a coldness, a lack of welcome, a tendency to make the congregation into a closed club, an arrogance, a fastidiousness–which keeps the seeking stranger out? True faith cannot be expressed through empty rituals but rather through the real worship of our lives as we show forth justice, kindness, humility, non- oppression, care for the marginalised, and faithfulness in using the gifts and talents that God has given us for his glory. Amen.

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

NICENE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son, he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen

Praying Moms – LRPC HOME

Lord, you come to your temple with zeal and indignation come to your church and drive from it all false piety and misguided priorities may our words, thoughts and deeds be acceptable in your sight!

God of our salvation

we trust in your promise

Lord you come to places of power and boldly upset their unjust ways of working. open the hearts of all in leadership to the challenge of kingdom values and purposes. Revive in us all a clean heart and a right and steadfast spirit.

God of our salvation

we trust in your promise

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Lord, you come to traders with a vision beyond profit. Keep us mindful of the conditions of production and the social effects of what we consume. Balance all our trading with your fairness and equity.

God of our salvation

we trust in your promise

 

Lord you come to our lives with compassion and searching judgement. In our frailty give us time to reflect on what is amiss and in repentance to seek your restoring grace. Create in us a fitting dwelling place for your glory.

God of our salvation

we trust in your promise

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Lord you come to us inviting us to reach out in love and care to those most in need. We remember those families struggling in this pandemic to cope emotionally, mentally, physically or financially and ask that you will meet them at their point of need. Grant them all the support, help and encouragement they may need.

God of our salvation

we trust in your promise

Lord you come to us wherever we are, reaching out to in love to assist us. We lift to you those countries, which are wracked by war and disaster, and pray that in their endeavours to rebuild and reconstruct their lives, they may receive all the support and help they need. Show us what we can do to help and guard us from all indifference and complacency.

God of our salvation

we trust in your promise

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Lord you came to those in pain and distress and offered them comfort and healing. In the quiet we bring to you those people we know that are suffering in body, mind or spirit. Give your healing touch, your strength, your hope and care to all we have named in our hearts.

God of our salvation

we trust in your promise

sun reflection on calm water near green mountains

Lord you come with the promise of the resurrection give comfort and hope to all who mourn. We lift to you all for whom this month is an anniversary of the death of a loved one.

God of our salvation

we trust in your promise

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Lord you come to us full of joy and expectation journey with us and be our stay and guide. Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name, 

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Do not bring us to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

HYMN

BLESSING

May Christ give you grace to grow in holiness, to deny yourselves, take up your cross, and follow him; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.