Collect and Readings for Sunday 21st March 2021 – Private Prayer at All Saints, Marthall 9:30am. The Fifth Sunday of Lent – Passion SundayReadings: Jeremiah 31.31-34, Psalm 51.1-12, Psalm 119.9-16, Hebrews 5.5-10, John 12.20-33
The Prayer for today
Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
In order to understand our readings today we need to know a little bit of background. In the Old Testament the people of Israel had been advised to strap The Law to their foreheads and around their doorposts in order to try and keep God's rules always in mind. Our reading from Jeremiah looks forward to a time when people will have God's Law deep within them in a new dynamic way and it is the coming of Jesus that fulfils this prophecy. With Jesus Christ there in person, people can see and understand what God is like, and with God's Spirit poured into their hearts, after Jesus' Ascension, the new and intimate relationship becomes a reality for those in every place and age.
In our Gospel reading, John tells us that some Gentile Greeks were actually seeking Jesus out. He had just finished cleansing the temple so that it could be restored as a house pf prayer for all nations and here are representatives of those other nations asking for him. With their coming it is as if Jesus suddenly catches sight of that future, rolling out into the distance of time and space, with people of all nations giving God glory and worshipping him in Spirit and in truth. Of course he is also acutely aware of the agony he must suffer for it to happen. Now just like us, in Jesus' humanness he pulls back from the idea. He battles with the powerful human instinct to preserve ourselves and avoid pain and conflict. Just because Jesus was the Son of God didn't mean that he was immune to the struggle of sacrifice. But Jesus reflecting God's love for humankind is obedient and relinquishes everything to the will and glory of God; it must be done and done willingly.
Immediately and powerfully the Father's love affirms what he has chosen, and all in the crowd who have ears to hear, whether Jew or Gentile, hear that unity of loving will for the good of the whole world.
Things to do and think about:
God bless and stay safe and well
Rev'd Fiona Robinson