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March 17, 2017

Lent 2017: Day Eighteen

Week Three: Mission Field

Reflection for the Week: What encourages me to engage more fully in the mission field?

OK, so this is a kinda weird text. It starts out alright with the announcement of the Lord God Almighty reigning over all creation, but what is with a lamb getting married? How does that imagery work for you?

This is one you have to unpack a bit. Throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament the relationship of God to Israel or Christ to the Church is couched in the metaphor of a marriage covenant. (Isa. 54:5-6, Ezek. 16:6-14, Matt. 25:1-13, 22:1-14). As anyone knows, the wedding feast is the great moment when the families and guests all get to celebrate with great joy the promise of hope and life that begins in the uniting of two who love each other so much they are willing to commit their entire lives to each other. Done right, the wedding day is one of unique and complete joy. There is a presence of love and promise there that is not present in other gatherings.

The early church leaders wanted the members of the new Christian community to feel that same sense of loving presence in every worship celebration. Every time the believers gathered to worship God, they were called to open their hearts to the loving, life-changing presence of God in the Holy Spirit that moves in and through worship.

Recall that the season of Lent is 40 days long, but Sundays are not counted in that because they are considered “Little Easters.” Sunday is the day of wonder and resurrection. Sunday in worship we reenter the covenant with God.

Have you really been worshipping lately? Have you been eagerly anticipating that the one who loves you more than anyone else is going to meet you there for a special celebration? Have you opened your heart with deep thanksgiving for all God has provided? Have you come ready for a time of joy and new hope?

Worship is a time to reaffirm our covenant vow with God to love and cherish one another all the days of our lives. Next time you come to worship, be sure you come to worship.

Prayer: God of love and life, may I open to your presence and be filled by your Spirit. Amen.

Rev. John Farley
Dean of Cabinet
California-Pacific Conference