Fourth United Methodist Church
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Gather to worship God, Grow to know God, Go to serve God

From the Pastor's Desk

 A Note from our Senior Pastor

Most adults have had the experience of signing a contract or other legal document. To borrow money, rent an apartment, or buy a car, we are asked to sign on the dotted line. Contracts are built on distrust, protecting ourselves from liability if the other persons doesn’t hold up his or her end of the bargain. Yet healthy human development and relationships are built on trust. Trust becomes possible only when we willfully and lovingly yield all authority and power and make ourselves vulnerable. The deepest and most eternal trust that undergirds our souls come from a relationship with God, who has given all to be with us and keeps not only God’s promises but ours as well, in an unbreakable love know as covenant. One more time we have a seasonal sermon series; this corresponds to the season of Lent. For Christians, Lent provides an opportunity for reflection. It is a time when we are encouraged to trace the footsteps of Jesus. The curtain rises on Ash Wednesday, a day that is marked with penitence. It is a time when the prophet Joel proclaimed to God’s people: “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Traditionally, our Lenten journey takes us to Gethsemane, to betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion. However, at this time, we will see Lent from another perspective, through the covenants made between God and God’s people. This sermon series called “Covenant” will reflect on those covenants made, in the Hebrew Bible, between God and Noah, Abraham and Sarai, Moses through the Ten Commandments. But also covenants in the New Testament that are closely attached to our Christian life as members of a family, members of society and the world. Even though, we live in a world in which covenants have been replaced by contracts, and trust for distrust, mistrust, and doubt; Jesus is still inviting us to a new covenant with Him. When Jesus announced a new covenant in his own blood (Luke 22:20), he was announcing something dramatically new! Never before had God made a covenant using human blood. The previous covenants had used animal blood. God did not allow human sacrifices. Jesus was not announcing a renewal of the old covenant, or a slight revision. Instead, it was a completely new covenant, made in a way forbidden by the old covenant! Simply in making the new covenant, Jesus was announcing the fact that the old covenant no longer applied. To enjoy the new covenant, we need to admit that we can’t earn our way into God’s presence — we will never be good enough — but we instead rely on his mercy. And Lent is the right season to remember this new covenant in His blood. AMEN!


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