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

3rd Sunday of Lent

5 Mar 2021, midnight

Readings: Exodus 20.1-17; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1.18-25; John 2.13-22

Let us pray: Almighty God, whose most dear Son went up to joy after he first suffered pain,

and entered into glory after he was crucified: mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace. Amen

A word from Lucy: The psalm is a joyous call to lift up our heads, to open our minds and to notice for ourselves that all around us creation presents and reveals God’s glory and handiwork. The psalm teaches that God’s commands, declarations and instructions are just, righteous and perfect and that through them we can be brought back to life, trained in God’s ways and made clean by God. However even though from times of old, God has given us all the guidance we need we have failed to do as instructed. Look at the first few chapters of the first book of the Bible and you will see that one of the early instructions in Genesis to our forebears was to leave the fruit that God said was not to be eaten alone; but our forebears disobeyed and ate it. In the book of Exodus, we hear the instructions that were given to the people who were saved from slavery in Egypt, the 10 commandments. The account tells us that these instructions were given to God’s people by a watchful and possessive God who reprimands and rebukes wickedness alongside revealing unwavering and tireless love to all who love God and do their best to obey his instructions. From the letter to the Corinthians, we learn that by the cross on which Jesus died that God has destroyed the wisdom of the world and proclaimed salvation to all who believe that we are saved by the power of God alone. For, as we heard in the gospel of John, even as Jesus challenged the misguided temple practices of His day, he knew he was to die and be brought back to life 3 days later, in order to save us. Now, here in our day, as Jesus’ disciples and God’s children, our pathway to a life of peace is to follow God’s instructions and copy Jesus’ example of obedience – a path that led Him to a place of joy and glory even though it was via the cross and pain of crucifixion, death and resurrection. Eternal God, give us insight to discern your will for us, to give up what harms us, and to seek the perfection we are promised in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Let us pray: Merciful Lord, grant your people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds the grace to follow you, the only God. Amen