March 15, 2020 – Lent 3

Title:March 15, 2020 – Lent 3

 Lent 3, Year A, March 15, 2020 (full size gallery)

The church building is closed this week (March 15) and next (March 22) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Village Harvest on Wed. March 18 is still on. We are going to have a drive through distribution and pack bags ahead of time. Those who are helping to pack the bags for the distribution should be prepared to start distributing food at 2PM so that people can come and go without a wait.

While worship was cancelled there were online offerings

1. Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, will be preaching in a live streamed service from the Washington National Cathedral

While writing the sermon, titled “Is there any message in this mess?”, Curry pondered the Gospel reading for March 15: a passage from John 4 in which a Samarian woman asks Jesus whether it is holier to worship God on a mountain or in a temple and he replies, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

“Those ancient words speak to us who have to worship online or at a distance,” Curry said in a statement sent to Episcopal News Service. “On the mountain top or in the church building isn’t important. In spirit and in truth is what matters. So on livestreams or in a church building, all that matters is to worship God in spirit and truth.”

2. Virtual Chapel

3. Catherine will be posting the Genesis Christian ed offering- Return to Bethel: Genesis 35:1-29

From a 2017 sermon:

“The familiar story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well is rich in symbolism and ties together several emerging themes. In order to appreciate this passage, it is important to put it in context. For example, this story about a Samaritan woman in chapter 4 of John’s gospel follows immediately the story of Nicodemus, a leader of the Pharisees, in the preceding chapter. It seems we are meant to contrast these two characters: one a man, the other a woman; one a Jew, the other a Pharisee; one with a name and prominent position in the Jewish establishment, the other nameless and despised by the religious establishment; one who comes to Jesus “by night,” and the other who comes to Jesus at noon, in the full light of day.

“Notice not only the contrasts but the similarities between Nicodemus and the anonymous (though somehow thoroughly known to Jesus) Samaritan woman. With Nicodemus, Jesus insists that no one can see the kingdom of God unless he or she is “born again” or “born from above.” Nicodemus seems stuck on a literal level with Jesus and so does not understand. “How can anyone be born, after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb, and be born?” Jesus responds that one must be “born of water and the Spirit,” in order to enter the kingdom of God, thus setting up the controversy that concludes chapter 3, the controversy about Jesus’ disciples baptizing more disciples than John, and introducing the theme of water that plays out here in chapter 4.

“Like Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman at first seems to take Jesus literally and misunderstands what he is means when he says (paraphrasing), “If you knew who I am, you would have asked me, and I would have given you living water.” The Samaritan woman is incredulous, maybe mocking, when she points out that this is a deep well, and Jesus doesn’t even have a bucket. How, exactly, does he think he would give her a drink? Jesus responds that whoever drinks this water will be thirsty again, but not so with the water he will give. “The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” (The inscription which will soon be found near our memorial garden fountain, by the way.) And the Samaritan woman, again understanding all of this literally, says, “Great, give me that water, so that I won’t have to keep coming back to this well over and over again.”

“But what she soon comes to realize, as this most unusual conversation with Jesus unfolds, is that she is standing in the presence of grace, being immersed by love, drowning in living water. She is experiencing the grace of salvation, and not only that, but she wants to drink this living water, so that it can be a spring of water inside of her, gushing up to eternal life

“I know that the Messiah is coming, the One who will proclaim all things to us,” the woman says. And Jesus answers, “I am He. I am the One you have been waiting for all your life.”

“The Samaritan woman goes off to tell all the people in town about all this grace, brought by Jesus, who has identified himself as the Messiah. And they come out of the town in order to meet Jesus.

“And when they experience his grace, they give him grace in return. “Come stay with us,” they say to Jesus. “Come and stay with us.”

“Scripture tells us that many more believed because of Jesus’ grace-filled presence with them. They are no longer simply witnesses to grace, they are immersed in it as well. They are thrilled to be part of God’s ongoing passionate love. ”

The Rev. Canon Lance Ousley writes the following about the scripture this week:

“For both the Woman at the Well and for Jesus’ disciples Jesus provided Living Water in their desert perspective of scarcity through the unconditional love that God offers us as the Cup of Salvation. The Israelites needed to learn to depend upon God and to live into the relationship of God as their god. The disciples and the Samaritan Woman needed to learn that the Font of Every Blessing flows continuously to all so that they might understand the depth of the well of God’s grace to all and through all. This, too, is Paul’s message to the Romans. We have more than we can imagine for which we can live in gratitude to God and drink in the blessedness of divine provision quenching our souls.