March 24, 2019: Taking Turns This Lent: Turn Over

Third Sunday in Lent

“Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Lent is not often pictured as a race, but these words from Hebrews fit well with some of the ways we talk about the season. Lent is the season to look to Jesus once again, to refocus on him and the cross that he took up. It is the season of repentance, or in other words, a time to get back on track and turn again to the ways of discipleship. So as we “run with perseverance the race that is set before us” on this Lenten track, this bulletin back series will encourage us to take many “turns” along the way to be closer to the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.

Leading up to this gospel passage, Jesus had been speaking to a large crowd while on his way to Jerusalem. With story after story and parable after parable, he urged them to turn over their lives to the kingdom of God. Yet no matter how many stories and parables Jesus tells, the crowd still seems to be operating under the same assumptions about their world as before. Some people in the crowd brought up a recent tragic event that occurred to a group of Galileans in Jerusalem, with the underlying assumption that what happened to them was punishment for the sins they must have committed. Jesus did not confirm their assumption, but instead replied with a parable about a fig tree that left the crowd wondering about the balance between grace and judgment in the kingdom of God.

How can we take this turn?

What sins, fears, and concerns can we turn over to God? What fruits of our labor can we share and turn over to others? When has God’s grace been turned over to us in our lives, and how was it apparent?

Dan Miller, pastor, Edgeboro Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania