Preached on 15 March 2015 at St. Luke’s Memorial Church, Tacoma
Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B
Today is Rose Sunday – a little break in Lent.
For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about Covenant. Today, I would like to focus on the steadfast love of God. It seems appropriate for Rose Sunday and it’s the foundation for all of God’s covenants. God enters into covenant with humanity and all the world – God limits God’s self – because of God’s steadfast love for all of creation.
We see that common thread through all of the lessons this morning. In the Psalm, we hear one section of Psalm 107, but there are four similar sections. Each one describes a different calamity that has befallen the people – sometimes because of their own actions. And in each case, they cry out to the Lord in their affliction and the Lord answers them We hear the refrain,
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his mercy and the wonders he does for his children.
Let them offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and tell of his acts with shouts of joy.”
They trust in the steadfast love of the Lord.
We see the steadfast love of the Lord for the Israelites in the desert, too, despite their grumbling and complaining. When their camp is infested with poisonous snakes, they turn to the Lord and God gives them a remedy – not the one they ask for but it works.
Finally, in the gospel, we find Jesus talking to Nicodemus about the steadfast love of God when he compares himself to the bronze serpent that Moses made to save the Israelites from the snakes. Because of the steadfast, enduring love of the Lord for the whole world, Jesus says, God sent him – not to judge, not to condemn, but to remind us of God’s love and to show us the way back to God; by trusting our very lives to God; to be in relationship with God through Jesus. That’s what it means to believe in him.
On this Rose Sunday, this little breather in Lent, let’s take some time to remember and reflect on God’s enduring, steadfast love for us and for the world. Remember times when that love has manifested in your life. Meditate on how you have been transformed by the love of Jesus and love for Jesus.
It is because of that love that we undertake our various Lenten disciplines, that we engage in self-examination and repentance; to realign our lives with the will of God.
“Let us give thanks to the Lord for his mercy and the wonders he does for his children.
Let us offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and tell of his acts with shouts of joy.”