Tag Archives: gathering

Saturday in the Fifth Week of Lent

Gathering or Scattering?

The Prophet Ezekiel foretold of a time when God would gather his people together in one everlasting kingdom:

Thus says the Lord God: I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from every quarter, and bring them to their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all. Never again shall they be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms. They shall never again defile themselves with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. I will save them from all the apostasies into which they have fallen, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God.   (Ezekiel 37:21–23)

God is the One who gathers his people together. He is the One who preserves them as a nation.  How is it that those who claim to represent God fear that his actions will divide the nation when it is their actions that divide a nation? This was the case concerning the chief priests and the Pharisees in the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry:

So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, “What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.”   (John 11:47-48)

This type of thinking demonstrates how Satan works. Divide and conquer. Are we, as Christians, aiding and abetting him? Who is sewing division among us and why?

In Jesus’s day the chief priests and the Pharisees acted out of fear. Their fear, however, was based on a false narrative: God will bring division among his own people. Fear, itself, brings division. That is why Satan sews fear. Our fear leads us to condemn others and falsely accuse them of the problems which we ourselves cause.

Fear stems from unbelief. Faith in a loving God dispels fear. Perfect love casts out fear.

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Thursday in the Third Week of Lent

Gathering Or Scattering

God spoke to Israel through the Prophet Jeremiah:

“Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.” Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels, and looked backward rather than forward.   (Jeremiah 7:23–24)

We are living in difficult and challenging times. Are we looking backwards today rather than forward?  This is not the day to walk in our own counsel. Jesus said to his disciples:

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.   (Luke 11:23)

Are we with Jesus? Storms are on the horizon. These storms are meant to scatter us. Only Jesus can speak to these storms. Only he can gather us together under the protection of God’s love.

The psalmist wrote:

Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee,
and kneel before the LORD our Maker.

For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!   (Psalm 95:6-7)

God wants us to move forward and not be burdened by the past. The Apostle Paul wrote:

I want to know Christ[f] and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.   (Philippians 3:10-14)

 

 

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Filed under Jesus, lectionary, Lent, Lenten daily readings, Lenten study, Revised Common Lectionary, Year C