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

Passion Sunday - 5th Sunday in Lent

21 Mar 2021, midnight
Lent

Readings: Jeremiah 31.31-34; Psalm 51.1-13/119.9-16; Hebrews 5.5-10; John 12.20-33

Let us pray: Most merciful God, you delivered and saved the world by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ: grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen

A word from Lucy: The book of Jeremiah, tells us a prophecy about a time when the Lord makes a new covenant with the houses of Israel and Judah. This was going to be a new type of covenant in which God’s laws would be written on their hearts, their sinfulness forgiven and their sin remembered no more. In this new covenant, the Lord foretold that He would be their God and they would be a people who knew their God. God made this provision because the former covenants had been broken by His people. Down the ages, history shows that we humans fall short of living the sort of lives described in Psalm 119. For we are supposed to: seek God sincerely, cherish God’s word, meditate on God’s instructions and codes, live in accordance with God’s word and abstain from wandering away from God’s ways. But we fail and fall short and make such a mess that we need God to help us. As Christians we believe that this new covenant was fulfilled in Jesus, who the writer to the Hebrews calls an eternal and great high priest who was reverent, prayerful and obedient as God’s son, a son who became perfect through His suffering and became the source of eternal salvation for all who follow him. John says that Jesus promised that His Father would honour everyone who serves Him. So today, even though we know we fall short and fail, we have hope because of Jesus. For we can turn back to God at any time and as psalm 51 tells us that when we are remorseful and sorry we can ask God for undeserved mercy and be forgiven our wickedness, cleansed of our sin and transformed into people with good hearts and sound moral compasses. The people of the new covenant – you and me.

Let us pray: Gracious Father, you gave up your Son out of love for the world: lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion, that we may know eternal peace through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood, Jesus Christ our Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, you taught that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do for you: give us the will to be the servant of others as you were the servant of all, and gave up your life and died for us, but are alive and reign, now and for ever. Amen