A Story to Embody: Third Sunday in Lent

Exodus 20:1-17
 And God spoke all these words:
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Psalm 19
   The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the skies announce what his hands have made. 

  Day after day they tell the story;
night after night they tell it again.
 They have no speech or words;
they have no voice to be heard.
  But their message goes out through all the world;
their words go everywhere on earth.

    The sky is like a home for the sun.
The sun comes out like a bridegroom from his bedroom.
It rejoices like an athlete eager to run a race.
  The sun rises at one end of the sky
and follows its path to the other end.
Nothing hides from its heat. 


 The teachings of the Lord are perfect;
they give new strength.
The rules of the Lord can be trusted;
they make plain people wise.
  The orders of the Lord are right;
they make people happy.
The commands of the Lord are pure;
they light up the way.
 Respect for the Lord is good;
it will last forever.
The judgments of the Lord are true;
they are completely right.
  They are worth more than gold,
even the purest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
even the finest honey.
  By them your servant is warned.
Keeping them brings great reward.

  People cannot see their own mistakes.
Forgive me for my secret sins.
  Keep me from the sins of pride;
don't let them rule me.
Then I can be pure
and innocent of the greatest of sins.

  I hope my words and thoughts please you.
Lord, you are my Rock, the one who saves me.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25
 The teaching about the cross is foolishness to those who are being lost, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. It is written in the Scriptures:
"I will cause the wise to lose their wisdom;
I will make the wise unable to understand." — Isaiah 29:14
Where is the wise person? Where is the educated person? Where is the skilled talker of this world? God has made the wisdom of the world foolish. In the wisdom of God the world did not know God through its own wisdom. So God chose to use the message that sounds foolish to save those who believe.The Jews ask for miracles, and the Greeks want wisdom.  But we preach a crucified Christ. This causes the Jews to stumble and is foolishness to non-Jews.  But Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God to those people God has called—Jews and Greeks. Even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

John 2:13-22
 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover Feast, Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves. He saw others sitting at tables, exchanging different kinds of money. Jesus made a whip out of cords and forced all of them, both the sheep and cattle, to leave the Temple. He turned over the tables and scattered the money of those who were exchanging it.  Then he said to those who were selling pigeons, "Take these things out of here! Don't make my Father's house a place for buying and selling!"
When this happened, the followers remembered what was written in the Scriptures: "My strong love for your Temple completely controls me."
Some of his people said to Jesus, "Show us a miracle to prove you have the right to do these things."
Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will build it again in three days."
They answered, "It took forty-six years to build this Temple! Do you really believe you can build it again in three days?"
(But the temple Jesus meant was his own body. After Jesus was raised from the dead, his followers remembered that Jesus had said this. Then they believed the Scripture and the words Jesus had said.)
When Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast, many people believed in him because they saw the miracles he did. Jesus did not believe in them because he knew them all.  He did not need anyone to tell him about people, because he knew what was in people's minds.

For more information on why I include weekly Lectionary readings you can read: A Story to Embody.

Photos courtesy Melanie Guest Photography.

In Christ,

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