Lent 3

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Easter 7, Year C May 29, 2022 Easter 7, Year C John 17:20-26
Easter 6, Year C May 22, 2022 Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C John 14:23-29
Easter 5, Year C May 15, 2022 Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C John 13:31-35, Revelation 21:1-6, Acts 11:1-18
Easter 4, Year C May 8, 2022 Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C John 10:22-30, Acts 9:36-43, Revelation 7:9-17
Easter 3, Year C May 1, 2022 The Third Sunday of Easter, Year C John 21:1-19
Easter 2, Year C April 24, 2022 Easter 2, Year C John 20:19-31
Easter Sunday, Year C April 17, 2022 Easter, Year C John 20:1-18
Good Friday, Year C April 15, 2022 Good Friday, Year C John 18:1-19:42
Palm Sunday sermon April 10, 2022 April 10, 2022 Palm Sunday Luke 22:14-23:56
Lent 5 April 3, 2022 Lent 5, Year C John 12:1-8
Lent 4, Year C March 27, 2022 Lent 4, Year C Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
Lent 3 March 20, 2022 Third Sunday in Lent, 2022 Luke 13:1-9
Lent 2 March 13, 2022 Lent 2, Year C Luke 13:31-35
Ash Wednesday, Year C March 2, 2022 Ash Wednesday, Year C Genesis, chapter 4
Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C February 27, 2022 Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C Luke 9:28-36, [37-43a]


Lent 3

Sermon Date:March 20, 2022

Scripture: Luke 13:1-9

Liturgy Calendar: Third Sunday in Lent, 2022

Sermon by Becky Fisher

As I thought about the Gospel reading this week, it seemed like two completely separate sections.  The first verses one through five, which talk of death, sin and repentance. Then you have the parable of the fig tree.

Versus 1 through 5 talks “about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.”  It doesn’t mean Pilate offered their blood as sacrifice, but as the Galileans were sacrificing animals, Pilate killed them.  The Gospel also references 18 who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them. It sounds as if God had permitted all these people to be massacred for some extraordinary wickedness.   Jesus then poses the question “Do you think they were more guiltily than all of the others living in Jerusalem?” Were they sinners above all other sinners? Let’s mull this over a bit. Do we know people, going through hardships? Do we think they are more guilty than we are and therefore more deserving of their circumstance?  When I think of it on a personal level, it’s easy for me to rashly or absentmindedly say, yes! They asked for it by engaging in that behavior.  They should have known the risk.  Why would they do something that stupid?  If you’re speeding you get a speeding ticket.  Understand how easy it is for our human nature to find reason and blame with someone else’s misfortune. Christ could have been suggesting that no one is secure from death and we should consider it as a warning to ourselves.

Christ Jesus says, “no!” They were not more guilty than others living in Jerusalem. Jesus is clearly calling us out. Clearly the wise thing to do is to make an honest inquiry of ourselves.  What about our own sin? Humbling…   

When the Gospel says, “unless you repent, you too will all perish,” what if it’s not referring to an immediate physical death, as that which happened to the Galileans and the ones that died in Siloam, but a spiritual death.  Maybe a death that is slowing taking its toll and keeping us from bearing the fruits of the spirit? 

Have you ever had something weighing on your mind that actually felt heavy? A sin committed? A burden? Some continuous behavior that you knew needed to stop before it got even more out of control? I’m sure I’ve had my share. I’ll give you recent example, which may seem a bit far fetched.  Here it goes: The Rector at my church needed to take a leave of absence! I couldn’t believe it!  I’m the Senior Warden which usually means I don’t do a lot compared other Vestry positions.  I know it.  Now, I’m going to have to be more active.  That’s God talking directly to me. I’ll need stand up and speak in front of people!   It stresses me out more than I can tell you. How is this a sin?  Wow! When reflecting on it, there are quite a few possibilities.  Starting with the rules I teach my kids.  The 21 Rules Of This House, rule number 4 says “We will consider one another interests ahead of our own.” I certainly was putting myself first, so selfishness. Maybe the second Commandant, idolatry like the Israelites that were with Moses?  Disobedience?  Idleness? The 4th Commandment from Exodus chapter
20 versus 9-10 says, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God.”  

There’s a rule for this, too in the book, The 21 Rules of This House.  We tend to remember the Sabbath day portion of this Commandment.  We’re here worshipping together, right?  But, what about the six days of work?  I’m not idle or lazy. I’m certainly busy enough.  This month, I have very visibly been called out. I have been idle.  I have not cleared a space or time for God. This is something that requires discipline. Clearing the space for God is work we are called to do.  I haven’t even taken advantage of my windshield time.  If you don’t know what windshield time is let me explain. Several years ago, I was in a bible study with a farmer.  He explained that his best time in solitude with God was his windshield time. The he spent driving his farm equipment back and forth across the fields.  Well, it’s winter time.  I haven’t been on the lawn tractor mowing, but I do try to shut off the radio while I’m in the car on the quiet parts of route 17 from here to Fredericksburg and listen to God thinking about readings and discussions about the bible that I’ve experienced recently.  Now, I’m thinking about the Wednesday devotional time which has gone to the wayside for me, due to things that just seem to come up in life.  The phone rings. The kids interrupt for help with something.  Oops, did I look at my Facebook page instead? Have I been dying a slow spiritual death?  Has it prevented me from bearing fruit?  Am I the fig tree from the parable? 

Yes, I’m the fig tree. Are you the fig tree, too?  Are there things in your life that you need to repent? Repentance isn’t just being sorry and asking for forgiveness. Repentance is more than regret. It’s turning away from sin and dedicating one’s self to change. As the Epistle tells us, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” The great thing is there are patient and merciful gardeners around.  In the second half of the Gospel reading, the New Covenant, it sounds like Jesus, is the gardener.  He says, “Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it.”  I, too, have not been left alone. I had a lot of people give me manure this week… Of course, by manure I mean that they nurtured me, fed me, offered support.  You see, God doesn’t leave us to our own resources. He helps and encourages us.  As it is said in Second Corinthians chapter 1 versus 3-4: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 

The story of the fig tree doesn’t mention whether or not the fig tree bore fruit prior to the three years of barrenness. I hope that we have born fruit in the past.  I hope that we stay in the garden and bear fruit.