The first Lenten lunch will be held today, March 5th at 12 noon at St. Paul Lutheran church with Hilda UMC hosting the lunch. The volunteer “caravaners” building the Habitat for Humanity Home will be joining us. Other lunches in March are on March 12th at River of Life, March 19th at First United Methodist in Mason, March 26th at First Baptist Church hosted by Art UMC.
There will be an Ash Wednesday worship service at 6 pm at Art UMC, followed by a worship service at 7 pm at St John Lutheran in Castell. There will be a community wide worship service in Heritage Park on Sunday March 16th at 9 am after the Youth Lock In. All “grown-ups” are encouraged to attend to demonstrate unity among the churches to our children.
Trinity UMC will join us in our regularly scheduled worship at 11 am.
Pastor Cliff’s message was titled “God’s Covenant with Abram”. The first reading was Genesis 15:1-12; the New Testament scripture was Ephesians 3:7-10. Understanding the covenant that God made with Abram, and with you and I, is essential to understanding how Jesus fulfilled the law with love. One explanation is in Galatians, Chapter three, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.
What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” Well, there it is in the Bible: cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.
You cannot earn your way into heaven by obedience to the law. Galatians chapter 3 verse eleven says: So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” Faith in God. I hope you can now begin to see the amazing, the mysterious, the unbelievable “thing” that God did in making the covenant with Abram. God took on the curse for our disobedience.
And words cannot describe fully what God did when He sent His Son. Hear it from Galatians chapter 3, verse 13. But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When Jesus was hung on the cross, Jesus, as God, took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing (Galatians 3:6-13). Should we follow the law? Oh yes. God says that this is the key to life. The best ways to live our life. I don’t have words to describe it. Maybe “Paradoxical obedience” is a poor attempt at a description.
Until we grasp the covenant God made with Abram, we tend to be “conditional”; you must earn God’s favor. Grace is a free gift from God.
When we understand that Jesus fulfilled the curse of the covenant so that we could be loved unconditionally, we should choose to take the law seriously. Jesus paid the ultimate price. This is what we do during Lent. We imagine Jesus on the cross. But when I fail to uphold the law, and sin, there is no condemnation for my salvation is through what Christ Jesus did at Calvary.
This is what we do during Lent. We struggle to understand to “believe” that God loves us so much God would die for us. Obedience to the law and the ways of God is saying thank you God. And we don’t need to fall into despair when we fail. When we fall short, and when we sin. Because God loves us. How will we choose to respond to this incredible love God has for us? Have absolute trust in God’s ways. Absolute trust in God’s faithfulness. Absolute dependence on God’s grace.
“For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Jesus lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:19-20).
I invite you to pray and ask the Spirit of Truth to teach you more, and fill your heart with the love of God.