|Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 25, 2012||Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year B||John 12:20-33|
|Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 18, 2012||Sermon, Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B||Numbers 21:4-9, Ephesians 2:1-10, John 3:14-21|
|Third Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 11, 2012||Third Sunday in Lent, Year B||Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22|
|Second Sunday in Lent, Year B||March 4, 2012||Second Sunday in Lent, Year B||Mark 8:31-38|
|Sermon, First Sunday in Lent, Year B||February 26, 2012||First Sunday in Lent, Year B||Genesis 9:8-17, I Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1: 9-15|
|➤Ash Wednesday Service, Feb 22, 2012||February 22, 2012||Ash Wednesday||Joel 2:1-2, 12-17|
|Last Sunday After Epiphany, Year B||February 19, 2012||Last Sunday after Epiphany||2 Kings 2:1-12, Psalm 50:1-6, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Mark 9:2-9|
|Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||February 12, 2012||Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Mark 1: 40-45|
|Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||February 5, 2012||Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, Year B||Isaiah 40:21-31, Mark 1:29-39|
|Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||January 29, 2012||Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||I Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28|
|Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||January 22, 2012||Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||Mark 1:14-20|
|Second Sunday After The Epiphany, Year B||January 15, 2012||Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||1 Samuel 3:1-20; Psalm 139: 1-5, 12-17; John 1:43-51|
|First Sunday After The Epiphany, Year B||January 8, 2012||First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B||Mark 1:4-11|
|Sermon on Joy, Epiphany, 2012||January 6, 2012||Epiphany||Matthew 2:1-12|
|Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2011||December 25, 2011||Christmas Day, 2012||Isaiah 9:2-7; Luke 2:1-20|
Ash Wednesday Service, Feb 22, 2012
Sermon Date:February 22, 2012
Scripture: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Liturgy Calendar: Ash Wednesday
Many of us remember with fondness The Byrds, that folk rock band of the sixties, and some of their songs spin through our souls when we hear only a word—
“To every thing
turn, turn, turn
there is a season
turn turn turn “
Lent is our season of turning, of turning to back to the Lord, because we are prone to wonder far from God, our hearts are prone to leave the God we love.
So tonight we hear the words of the prophet Joel, exhorting us to turn back to God.
“Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
Rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.”
Turn to the Lord, your God.
That is our work for this season, and in this season, we are joined in this great turning by the whole creation, as Lancelot Andrews, the bishop of Winchester and the chair of the committee that produced the King James Bible, pointed out in his Ash Wednesday sermon to King James I in 1619.
“Once a year, all things turn. And that once is now, at this time, for now at this time is the turning of the year. In heaven the sun is at the equinox; the zodiac and all the constellations in it, do now turn about to their first point. The earth and all her plants, after a dead winter, return to the first and best season of the year. The creatures, the fowls of the air, the swallow and the turtledove, the crane and the stork, know their seasons and make their just return at this time every year. Everything now turning, we also should make it our time in which to turn to God.”
“Then, because this day is known as the first day of Lent, it fits well as a welcome into this time, a time lent us, as it were, by God, set us by the Church in which to make our turning.”
“Repentance itself is nothing else but a kind of circling: to turn to the One by repentance from whom, by sin, we have turned away…
To turn is a counsel given to those who are out of the right way, for continuing on and turning are opposite motions, both of them with reference to a way. If the way is good, we are to hold on; if otherwise, to turn and take another.”
“From God then, as from the journey’s end of our life, our way, we are never to turn our steps or our eyes, but still to walk with God all our life long.”
(From A Time to Turn: Anglican Readings for Lent and Easter Week, by Christopher L. Webber, pgs 1-2).
In this season of Lent, turn to the Lord, your God.
In this season of Lent, turn to the Lord, your God by returning to God some of the time that God has so generously turned over to you. Spend some of the time you would have spent otherwise in the presence of God.
In those moments of silence early in the morning when you are alone in the quietness of a new dawn, turn to God in prayer. Repent of the things done, and undone, that have caused you to turn from God, and then turn to God with all your heart, thanking God for all the blessings of this life.
In those moments of quiet, when the world is hushed and silent, and the brilliant stars make paths of light across the darkness of the late winter sky, repent of all that is past, and thank God for all of the blessings that await you, for our God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love for each one of us.
In this season of Lent, return to God through scripture. Find some time to read and study your Bible. And turn to books written by those who have turned to God and have shared their journeys to God through the written word.
In this season of Lent, turn to God by turning to others and sharing what you have with them. Turning away from selfish spending, and using our resources to help those in need helps us to turn to God, who has turned toward us in our times of greatest need.
Joseph Brackett, who was a Shaker, wrote the following song in the eighteenth century about turning to God. The hymn has only one verse, and you can find it in your hymn book on page 554.
Brackett reminds us in this hymn that the result of turning back to God is that we will find ourselves full of love and delight, full of humility, which he calls “true simplicity.”
And when turning to God becomes our habit, our way of life,
“To bow and to bend, we shan’t be ashamed.
To turn, turn, will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning, we come round right.”
Lent is the season of turning, the season in which we turn, and turn, and turn, until we come round right.
“Yet even now,” says the Lord, “turn to me with all your heart.”