NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR SUNDAY, MARCH 22, 2015

This Sunday is the Fifth Sunday IN Lent and the first Sunday of Spring! This past week I worked for the first time in my yard. I’ve actually grown fond of working in the yard, because most of the time I don’t have to really think about all of the details of what I’m doing. I just get out there and do it. I did notice the budding of the trees and some flowers bursting from the ground. It reminded me of new life and new beginnings. After all, spring is when we plant many seeds that become new life. I even made plans to plant some seeds in one area of the yard that is bare.

I must admit though that I really don’t think much about all of the implications of what happens to the seed when you plant it. That changed some this week after reading again the assigned gospel lesson from John 12 when Jesus is talking about dying seed. Of course, reading on in that chapter, you learn that Jesus is only using the detail of planting a seed as a parable to talk about the events that lie ahead of Him in what we have come to know as Holy Week leading to the Resurrection of Easter.

Like me working in the yard, we often don’t think of all of the implications of Jesus death and resurrection. About the most we think of it is He did it to save us so we can go to heaven. That’s true, but it means so much more for the living of your life right now. As I read the assigned text from Jeremiah 31, it had this wonderful promise by God of a new covenant God is making with God’s people in which their sins are forgiven and remembered no more. Then it hit me, the implication of what Jesus was talking in a dying seed is that His death and resurrection like the seeds of spring makes this new life under a new covenant possible right now!. And it is all because our God is “The God of Second Chances!” The good news is that for this new covenant to become your reality, it’s much like yard work, you don’t have to think too much about it, you just do it! We are not subject to all of those old Mosaic laws! We don’t have to offer sacrifices or go through a priest or anything like that for this new covenant to become ours. All you have to do is ask. When we fail to live up to our best under the new covenant, “The God of Second Chances” forgives. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9, RSV)

The bad news is that many of us find it too hard to believe it’s that simple. Maybe this can help us. In an old Dennis the Menace cartoon, Dennis and his little friend Joey are leaving Mrs. Wilson’s house, their hands full of cookies. Joey says, “I wonder what we did to deserve this.” Dennis answers, “Look, Joey. Mrs. Wilson gives us cookies not because we’re nice, but because she’s nice.” It might seem too good to be true that God loves us unconditionally, forgives and accepts us totally but that’s what the new covenant promises. Don’t over think it, just do it! That’s why Jesus became the dying seed that burst forth with new life that “Spring of the Resurrection.” Let this be the “Spring of Forgiveness” for you from “.“The God of Second Chances”

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