Church of England Diocese of Birmingham St. Matthew with St. Chad, Smethwick

2nd Sunday of Lent

26 Feb 2021, 7:45 p.m.

Readings: Genesis 17.1-7 & 15,16; Psalm 22.23-31; Romans 4.13-25; Mark 8.31-38

Let us pray: Almighty God, you show the light of your truth to those in error so they may return to the way of righteousness: grant that all those who are received into the friendship of Christ’s religion, may reject those things that are contrary to their calling and follow all things as are in accord to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

A word from Barbara - let us pray: may the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, lord our strength and our redeemer. Amen

In our reading in Genesis chapter 17, Abram at the age of 99 years old, is spoken to by God at this time of his life. We know God has spoken to Abram previously, so why now? On reading our Gospel reading today about Abram, we can easily visualise Abram being someone who is obedient to God and has a lot of faith in God, someone who has no questions but to follow and leave everything to God. An old man God has made a huge covenant with “you shall be the ancestor of a multitude of Nations” (17:5). For me this says to us, it is never too late for God to call us, to speak to us, to use us, through whatever avenue God feels suitable, through friends or experiences, God is ever present no matter how old we are. I have heard people say I am too old to take on anything now, but our God is a loving God who is there for us at any time in our lives and can ask us to do anything at any time. It is true that people in the Bible have been called by God and have initially been reluctant to obey, some of us are the same today, refusing to see because we don’t think we can do what God asks us to do, or just the fact that we have our own plans. However, God knows what we can manage and about who we are, even when we have plans of our own. We can be spoken to through avenues we would not have thought such as: prayers, sermons, friends, books, nature, experiences. Maybe Abraham had plans of his own, like we all do, but we need to remember we are all called. It may be to look after our neighbour, organising a Food Bank, becoming a Reader. We can easily set out in a direction that we later find out is not the way God would like us to go and things change unexpectedly. It is not easy to discern where our own journeys in life will lead. Our faith in God is very important and faith is open to everyone. We need to build our relationship with God, to pray, read the Bible, have discussions, ask questions and build a strong faith. The Lenten season can be a time when ‘we are challenged to discern where it might be that God is calling us”. Lent is a special time because this is a time when Christians repent, reflect and prepare themselves for Easter. Some people choose to fast, (following Jesus’ example) others may give up particular foods, or take on something new. A time spent reading the Bible more or a book related to the Bible or Bible stories. Lent is a good time to think about ourselves and our lives, so we can repent and consider our calling, and ponder “what is God saying to us at this time?” for God did not give us his gifts for no reason. Abraham was not perfect and made mistakes just like we do. He took things into his own hands instead of relying on God (Genesis chapter 16 and 20), his journey was not as simple as it sounds in our Gospel reading today there is a lot more to it. What we do learn is that God forgives, and God is patient and we have a forgiving God. So, while we will stumble in life and can also stumble during Lent with what we have chosen to do, we can also begin again because each day is new. One of Jesus’ own disciples in our Gospel Reading in Mark, Peter makes a mistake by rebuking what Jesus has just shared with them about what will be happening to him, they stumbled too. So back to my earlier question, Why Abram and why this time? My response is simply - who knows really except God! For Abram had faith and faith is said to be able to take you where human logic cannot take you. So with this in mind, I encourage us all. Let us therefore equip ourselves on this Lent journey, strengthen our faith and prepare ourselves for what God has planned for us to do. Amen

Let us pray: Almighty God, by the prayer and discipline of Lent may we enter into the mystery of Christ’s sufferings and by following in his Way come to share in his glory. Amen