NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT, MARCH 6, 2016

This Sunday is The Fourth Sunday in Lent. It is also known as “Refreshment Sunday” to provide us encouragement as we progress toward the end of this somber season ending with the death of Jesus. Remember that the day of Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of a new church season, “Easter.”

On this Refreshment Sunday, the lectionary scripture comes from one of the 3 parables of Jesus in Luke 15. The 3 parables are about a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son. After each is found, at the end of each parable, Jesus, in some manner, makes reference to how joyful God is about lost sinners being found.

So often we get so caught up in the stories that we forget that the purpose of Jesus telling the story was to point us to a wonderful truth: the joy our confession and repentance being God. That’s because God knows that our confession and repentance puts us on “The Path to Real Forgiveness.” When we begin to feel forgiven, it means we believe that we are forgiven and so we begin to act forgiven. That’s when we really begin to experience God’s best and God’s purpose for our lives.

The reason many of us don’t feel forgiven is that when we get tangled up in the mistakes and sins we’ve committed, we try to sweep them under carpet of our lives or worse, we try to hide it and work it out all on our own terms. That way, maybe no one will know about them. The problem is that we still know about them and so does God. Nothing but confession and repentance releases us from the guilt of our mistakes and our sins. Maybe the following snippet can help you understand the point I’m trying to make.

A sign seen in a textile mill said, “When your thread becomes tangled, call the foreman.” A young woman was new on the job. Her thread became tangled and she thought, “I’ll just straighten this out myself.” She tried, but the situation only worsened. Finally she called the foreman. “I did the best I could,” she said. “No you didn’t. To do the best, you should have called me.”

To do our best, to be our best and to find our best selves, regardless of the tangles we have made of our lives, we need to call on the foreman, God. We do that through confession and repenting (changing direction.) That’ puts us on “The Path to Real Forgiveness.” Apostle Paul tells us that God’s forgiveness makes us new creations in God’s sight. It’s just like refreshed for the living of our lives from that point on. It’s like starting all over again!

Join us in worship at Covenant this Sunday and be refreshed with the hope of a new life and learning to live in a positive, hopeful and blessed way. I’ll be preaching a sermon called “The Path to Real Forgiveness.” The scripture texts are “I Corinthians 5:16-21” and “Luke 15:1-3, 8-10.”

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