March 11, 2019
By Bob LaRochelle.
Rev. Bob LaRochelle is a UCC clergyperson currently serving as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Plainville, Connecticut.
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.”He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work.Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Whenever I have read this passage, whether it be in preparing to preach or in simply reading the Gospel for the sake of , well, reading the Gospel, I find myself coming back to these two words: I MUST. Yet, what is interesting in this passage, is that I MUST of which Jesus speaks is a rather frightening one. He is telling us that ' I have to go on to Jerusalem '. He, of course, is saying this, knowing all along that when he gets there, his life most likely would be in deep danger, yet, nonetheless, go to Jerusalem he MUST.
These two words 'I MUST' have always struck me because they lead me to wonder: What are the I MUSTS in my life? What are those things that I ABSOLUTELY have to do? Another way of putting this might be: What are the moral imperatives that drive my life? For Jesus, at the point in his life described in this passage, the answer was getting clearer by the moment. He was going to Jerusalem where the probability was clearer each and every day that he would proceed to suffer greatly and would eventually be killed.
You see, Jesus knew this deep inside because he was in touch with that which gave direction to his life. Along the way, he had made the choice described in the passage he read at the synagogue in Nazareth, the words of Isaiah 61:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me ......He has sent me to proclaim good news to the poor....freedom for the captives...’
In making this choice, Jesus KNEW that the act of doing so might very well bring him suffering and maybe even death. Yet, he also felt that I MUST way down deep inside of him, the I MUST that led him to the Cross.
Let us pray:
Good and loving God within us and around us, move us to a deeper awareness of the I MUSTS in our lives. Attune us to the values and convictions that drove the life of Jesus. Give us courage to align our MUSTS with his, so that we, like Jesus, may bring good news and hope to this broken world. Hear this Lenten prayer, good God, which we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Congregational Church of Madison
Center Congregational UCC
Second Congregational Church, UCC
First Church of Christ in Mansfield Congregational
Congregational Church of Marlborough UCC
This Week in History:
Mar. 11, 1794, (240 years ago) Congress creates the Army Corps of Engineers to design and prepare environmental and structural facilities and military fortifications. The Corps has evolved over the 240 years. Today, the more than 35,000 civilians and enlisted individuals handle navigation and flood control of the nation's rivers, and help rebuild war torn regions around the world as well as areas of the U.S. affected by natural disasters.
Starting With Scripture: March 11, 2019 , by Bob LaRochelle.