March 20th, 2022 – 3rd Sunday in Lent
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF: March 21st – March 27th
Monday………………… 6:00PM LAF Zoom
Wednesday……………. 2:30 PM Confirmation
Thursday………………. 10:00 AM Bible Study
Friday………………….. The Annunciation
Sunday: …………………. 10:00am Worship
11:00am Bible Study
Friday, March 25th, is 9 months until Christmas. Why am I thinking of Christmas and 9 months? Because that is also the date of the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she will bare a son and call his name Jesus. The 4th Sunday of Advent tends to be a mini-Annunciation because it fits thematically with that season better. We are prepared to think about the baby Jesus in December, but the church placed the actual festival day in the roughly real spot. Being true man it took roughly 9 months to gestate the savior. Luke 1:26ff is the biblical basis, but that is confusing. It starts “in the sixth month” by which Luke means the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist. I’m fascinated by how we reckon time and the theme of the eternal entering the temporal, but the annunciation is full of paradoxes: the angel of the Lord sent to Nazareth, the highly favored one one that would have been the least in the society, a King born to a peasant reclaiming a throne, not to mention a virgin conceiving, and the Son of God becoming the Son of man. Silicon Valley thinks they are chasing the singularity when it has already come.
PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION
The Epistle Lesson for today (1 Corinthians 10:1-13) has a reference to one of the strangest realities in the Old Testament. And Paul just states it as if it were obvious. “They drank from the Spiritual Rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.” If you aren’t reading slow what is said is so strange you will just read past it. The Rock followed them. Now I suppose if you are being led by a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day some rock following you isn’t all that interesting.
The Rock first appears in Exodus 17. This is right after the Exodus. Israel has not been to Sinai yet. But already the demands of this life are causing strife. We are hungry. Why have you led us out hear to die when we had everything we ever wanted in Egypt (Exodus 16:3)? And God provides the manna, the bread from heaven. Then they have no water and they quarrel. God commands Moses, “I will stand before you there on the Rock, and you shall strike the Rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” How did God stand before them? Theoretically, that pillar of cloud. And so Moses took the staff and hit the cloud standing before the rock, and then hit the Rock. God took the punishment Israel’s quarrelsomeness deserved and the water of life flowed. Deuteronomy 32:4 becomes something of a Mosaic refrain as God becomes Israel’s rock, “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.”
So what happened? There is a pattern across the books of Moses, especially the book of Numbers. Israel sins, God pronounces judgement, Moses intercedes for them, and God pardons. (Take a look at Numbers 11, 14, and 16.) By the time you get to Numbers 20 it has been 40 years in the wilderness. And for some reason the Rock is no longer giving water and Israel is again grumbling. But the pattern is broken. God does not pronounce judgment. He simply makes a promise. Speak to the Rock and it will give its water (Numbers 20:8). But Moses was in no mood to plead for Israel. He’d had it. We all do. That’s when we most need to speak to the Rock. But he doesn’t. Moses lifts up his hands and beats the Rock twice. But the Lord’s judgement is not a legalistic point about Moses striking instead of talking. God says, “because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel (Numbers 20:12).” Moses prior had always had faith in the mercy of God to plead for Israel, to speak to the Rock. And the Rock forgave their iniquity. But here he lacked the faith to do so. In Deut 32:51 Moses repeats his problem, “because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people.”
Paul says that the Rock was Christ. He also says that these things took place as examples for us. Christ has born our punishment and from his side flowed the waters that cleansed us in baptism. There is no sin that he has not atoned for. When we speak to the Rock the waters flow. Jesus sinners doth receive. Let us not find ourselves outside of the promised land because we lack the faith to call on Jesus in a dry time. We all eat the same spiritual food and drink the same spiritual drink. We have all sinned and fallen short. The Rock of the Church provides for all in abundance. When we call on him in faith.
BEEF on WECK
Spring Beef on Weck is going to be on Saturday, April 2nd. There will be a couple of workdays prior. Please put it on your calendar, consider helping, and picking up a meal.
- Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – Continuing with Isaac
- Confirmation: Lord’s Prayer – Introduction & First Petition
- Life Application Fellowship (LAF): March 21st, 6PM, Zoom
- Sunday Morning: Going to continue with the Psalms for a Season. Come Join Us in the prayer book of the Bible.
- Catechism Moment: In you inbox, look for the email.
RUMMAGE SALE – April 23.
The preschool will start collecting stuff for the rummage sale Friday, April 15th. You can drop anything, except TV’s or Computers, any time that week.
Made a donation to the Lutheran World Relief fund for Ukraine Refugees for St. Mark’s.
RHAFT CHALLENGE FOR LENT
During the season of Lent, which starts Wednesday, we have taken upon ourselves that RHAFT challenge for giving to our local food pantry. You will find an insert in your bulletin which lists some suggestions for items to give during each of the six weeks of Lent. (Of course, any donations are welcomed at any time, but this method helps us give a variety of items to RHAFT.) There are many who are “in need” in our community, and this is an opportunity for us to help them. We THANK YOU for your past generosity in giving, and we pray that you will accept our challenge to help once again!