Lent 5 – A New Covenant on Our Hearts

A New Covenant On Our Hearts 

Welcome to worship today.  Ashmore Uniting Church is a “loving church, focused on the gospel of Christ: reaching out, meeting needs, and equipping people for service”.

Firstly, I’d like to thank Chris Alton for leading our worship service last week while many of us were away on our inaugural Ashmore Uniting Church Family camp at Burleigh Heads.  From all reports, Chris led very meaningful and worshipful service.

 Secondly, I’d like to thank Vanessa Neideck for the tremendous effort that she put into planning and making the Family Camp such a successful experience for all who attended.  Vanessa really had thought of everything for that occasion.  THANKS VANESSA.  We had a marvelous time of relaxing, developing community and sharing life and faith together.  There were children and adults sharing together in God’s creation.  We even tried “tracing around an invisible wriggling God”.  It was fun.  Praise the Lord.

On this Fifth Sunday in Lent, the shadow of the Cross is now in view and next Sunday we will see Jesus riding on a donkey into Jerusalem to the loud shouts of the crowd:- Hossanna!, Hossanna!, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.  But halt!!  Dare we race ahead of ourselves – we are not there yet!!  First we must hear what Jesus has to say to the people around him, to the disciples and to the religious leaders of the day, before the emotion and the reactions to His words and actions take us to their climax.  In his last public dialogue in John 12:20-33, Jesus speaks of his imminent death.  When people ask to see Jesus, his response is to tell them that they must risk even death, as he does.  But this is not the ending – a seed planted in the ground yields a rich harvest.  So Jesus’ own death will yield new life for all. 

Our text from Jeremiah 31:31-34 continues and develops the “covenantal theme” that has been guiding us through the preaching during this Lenten season.  As we get closer to Easter, the scriptures show us that God’s plan is to “make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah where He will put a new law within them and write it on their hearts.” God says, “I will be their God and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:32).  We are people of the new covenant and this has benefits and responsibilities attached to it. 

 One of those benefits and one of those responsibilities is to be people who live an authentic Christian life.  At the beginning of this Lenten journey I said that ‘living an authentic Christian life is one of the most important questions for people of faith today’.  In the Christian faith, authentic living has to do with experiencing God’s Spirit and living in God’s grace.  I hope that through Lent you are letting God guide you into some deeper thinking and life practices that are helping you respond to such questions as:- How can we live authentic lives that honor God with the transformational love Jesus showed?  How can we adopt lifestyles that are good for the whole earth? These are practical questions that individual Christians and Christian Communities are facing through the Lent Event program:- This One Life – Lent Event Journey Guide.  I hope that the weekly ‘prayer guide’ is stimulating your journey of an authentic Christian life.  Please go to http://www.lentevent.com to see some of the projects that your lent monies will be supporting.  Next week you may wish to begin bringing your moneyboxes with your “lent monies” in them. 

Next week (Palm Sunday) will be a special “Messy Church and Family Service with a Passover Meal and Lunch together”.  Come for some of the time or stay for the morning from 9am to 12.30pm.  What a wonderful time it will be.  May you experience authentic Christian living through Lent…..….this week. .

Rev. Brad Foote