Weekly worship: Sunday 25 February

Second Sunday of Lent

Conflict zone in Colombia

The hard road

Genesis 17:1-7,15-16  Psalm 22:23-31  Romans 4:13-25  Mark 8:31-38

Any service to others requires us to change, and often to be more than we can even expect.

So God marks the beginning of a People by name changes, from ‘father of height’ (Abram), to ‘father of many’ (Abraham), from ‘quarrelsome’ (Sarai) to ‘Princess’ (Sarah).

So the story begins. It begins with hope and with God’s assurance of covenant – a long-standing agreement. Sarah and Abraham signal the beginning of what might be.

Like most stories and journeys, the history of salvation in the Bible is full of challenges as well as triumphs.

This ultimately reflects the reality of this world. Challenges exist in every situation. And as we journey through Lent, we are mindful of the challenges facing our sisters and brothers around the world. Communities in Nigeria forced from their homes due to violence and drought in northern Kenya.

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But God remains faithful even in the greatest adversity. It is also our duty to follow a path of goodness, reconciliation and hope so that we remain faithful as well.

God’s promise to ‘be there' is carried through in the psalm. In the Letter to the Romans, we are brought to the ultimate challenge for Jesus, which leads to Jesus’ death.

When we are presented with challenges, do we always stand up for what is right? Is there a way out? Do we always stand with the weak and oppressed and those on the margins?

Where lives are at risk due to violence, where our planet is challenged due to a changing climate, where truth is warped beyond belief, someone has to stand.

So through the gospel, the covenant is continued. The immortality of love calls us today to stand in solidarity, to speak when it’s hard and act when it’s harder.

We are all called to herald the beginning of what might be and be true life reflections of the Body of Christ.

 

God of all times and generations, 
your promises stay true and
the love you bring is immortal. 
May we, in all we are, 
be the examples 
to take goodness 
to generations still to be.
Help us to be the children of Sarah and Abraham, 
the disciples and body of Christ, now and always. 
Amen.

We are grateful to the Rev Stuart Fulton, a minister in the Church of Scotland, for providing the weekly pointers for February.

Pointers for prayer

Follow Count Your Blessings and walk with our sisters and brothers living in poverty this Lent.

Fairtrade Fortnight begins on 26 February and runs to 11 March. Give thanks for Fairtrade Fortnight. Pray that we will continue the great work of raising awareness and instilling consumer consciousness about the need for trade to be fair for all across the world.

Give thanks for the tenacity and persistence of the Fairtrade campaign. Pray that the momentum behind Fairtrade sweeps away threats to its progress made in recent years.