O God, our resurrection and life, the promise of Your new life in Christ is like a breath of fresh air in a dry and thirsty land. We have gathered as believers, and as those who are honestly seeking the truth. Guide our worship this hour.
O God who makes all things new, speak to us as whole people today. May Your truth touch not just our intellects, but also our deeper yearnings of heart and soul. We bring with us our daily concerns, as well as our more eternal questions.
Let us take a moment to silently pray our personal prayers….
May Your new creation in us shed light upon our everyday walk.
We Thank you Lord. Amen
Shall we now pray the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
God of grace,
it is our delight and our devotion
to give these gifts to you.
All we are and all we have
are yours alone.
Accept this joyful offering
as a token of our abiding love:
use it to bring peace, justice
and comfort to all the world, Amen.
Abiding in Christ.
The purpose. ...
That we may see the need for us to "abide in Christ" and to know that there is. Joy , Peace and eternal life that can never be shaken! And it's there For all who will "abide in Christ"
Here in these 5 chapters in John, 13 through 17, our Lord Jesus Christ is preparing his disciples for The very next thing that is coming. Jesus is about to be betrayed and crucified, and he gives clear instruction on,
1 Who he is.
2 Where He is going.
3 That even though He is going we are not "orphaned" we are not left alone.
4 The Ministry of the holy spirit, our helper and teacher.
And He promises to his disciples and indeed to us that there is a supernatural, "peace"
John chapter 14 verse 27,
John 14: 27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
A supernatural "Joy" John chapter 16 verse 22 to 24,
John 16:22-24 New American Standard Bible NASB)
22 Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.
Prayer Promises 23 In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.
And "Eternal life" John chapter 17 verse 1 to 3 that can not be shaken.
John 17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The High Priestly Prayer
17 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said,“Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
And as we look into these passages we will hear our Lord, telling , no commanding His disciples and all of us to. "Abide in Him" John chapter 15 verse 1-8.
It is a conditional promise, for anyone to truly experience, peace, joy, eternal life, that is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Then we have to " Abide in Christ"
And interwoven like the backing of a tapestry that holds everything together throughout all of these chapters is this command repeated over and over. To "love one another".
Let's set the scene, Jesus has just finished washing the disciples feet.
John Ch 13 vs 1-7.
The Lord’s Supper
13 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them [a]to the end.2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4 *got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.
Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet5 Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 So He *came to Simon Peter. He *said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?”7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.
Jesus tell his disciples of where he's going they cannot follow, Ch 13 vs 33,
John 13:33 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
33 Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’
and He gives his disciples a new command. To love one another. Ch 13 vs 34
John 13:34 New American Standard Bible (NASB)34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
Our Lord has declared to them. "I am the way the truth and the life" John Ch 14 vs 6
John 14:6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Jesus then promises, "another Helper" The Holy Spirit. John chapter 14 verse 15 to 18.
John 14:15-18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
Role of the Spirit
16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [a]Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Jesus here gives His first condition. If anyone loves me and wants to experience the love of the Father , he will keep My word, John chapter 14 vs 23-24.
John 14:22-23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
22 Judas (not Iscariot) *said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
The disciples think they are about to take over the nation of Israel, Jesus be their king, make all things "right " but the Lord has much to accomplish before that, that's why He tells them, that they can't go where He is going.The last thing the disciples want is for, Jesus to leave now.
So He encourages them with truth...
So the Lord knows that they are uneasy, And don't understand what He is talking about.
John chapter 16 vs 17-18.
John 16:17-18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
17 Some of His disciples then said to one another, “What is this thing He is telling us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is talking about.”
And it's in light of this that it gives clear instruction on.
The work of the Holy Spirit, John chapter 16 verse 5 to 11 ,
John 16:5-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Holy Spirit Promised
5 “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the [a]Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
To convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement of sin.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit.
1 . Peace, John chapter 14 verse 25 to 27
John 14:25-27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
25 “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful..
Is your peace being challenged?, ,,,...Go to Him who gives Peace, abundantly!
2 . Joy, John chapter 16 verse 22 and 24. Asking in Jesus name? Jn chapter 16 vs 23 and 24.
John 16:22-24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
22 Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.
23 In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.
Are you filled with sorrow? , .... Let your sorrow be turned to Joy!
3 . Eternal life, Jn Ch 17 verse 3.
John 17:3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
There is only one source, "only one". And it is conditional,, Jesus said "I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the father but by me"
This is the most important decision anyone can make. It is this. Are you in Christ? Because if you are not "In Christ" if you have not received Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Then all of this is a
Other conditions that are mentioned, are , "To abide in Christ". Hear our Lord gives us a beautiful picture of Him being the True Vine.
John chapter 15 verse 1-8-12. And it is in this "abiding" that we experience, true peace, and Joy..
Jesus is the true vine, ch 15. Vs 1, vs 5
John 15:1-5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Jesus Is the Vine—Followers Are Branches
15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
The Heavenly Father is the vinedresser. Vs 1,
He prunes us, that is every branch that bears fruit. Vs 2a
We are the branches. vs 5.
John 15:6-10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so [a]prove to be My disciples. 9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
Branches that bear no fruit He takes away. Thrown into the fire. Vs 2, vs 6. Take warning!
The only way we can bear fruit, do anything for Christ, is if we..
Abide in Him! Vs 7
Abide in His word! Vs 7
Abide in His love! Vs 9
How do you , Abide in His love? keep His Commandments. John chapter 15 verse 10.
And then of course by reason. Spend time in his word. Abiding,and then of course by reason. Spending time in prayer.
The gifts He gives are, peace, ch 14 vs 7.
John 14:7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Oneness with the Father
7 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
A supernatural peace that the world can never know.
They are there for any who will abide in Christ.
The gifts of joy,
Of joy ,ch 16 vs 22-23
John 16:22-23New American Standard Bible (NASB)
22 Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you
23 In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.
.that can never be taken from you. Are there for all who
abide in Christ.
And finally, eternal life is there for those who abide in Christ.
What is it to have eternal life?
According to chapter 17 of John vs 1-5
John 17:1-5New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The High Priestly Prayer
17 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
Jesus is glorifying God
and praying for Himself, and in this prayer He prays this.
It reads like this...
Vs 3 . And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom
you have sent.
Let's close in prayer… Amen.
JESUS ENTERS JERUSALEM
All but one person is standing together, palm branches in hand, waiting to see Jesus coming into Jerusalem)
Person 1: (walks up to others, speaking to whole group he says:) What is everyone doing? Person 2: We're waiting for Jesus to come by.
Person 1: Who is Jesus?
Person 2: You don't know who Jesus is?
Person 3: They say he is going to be our King. He is the son of God and he will free is from the Romans.
Person 1: Boy, that would be great. He must be a big and powerful man.
Person 4: Get a branch and you can wave it at him when he comes. He is coming to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
Person 2: I can't see anything. I can't see Jesus, but I hear people shouting.
'Jerson 3: What are the shouting?
Person 5: They are shouting Hosanna, blessed is the king of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna means save us.
Person 4: I can see him, I can see him. He's riding on a donkey.
Person 1: Why is he riding on a donkey? Don't kings usually ride on a horse? Person 4: Here he comes! Here he comes!
(everyone acts like Jesus is right in front of them, while waving their palm branches)
Serson 4: Person 1:
Jesus is so kind and happy, but today he looks so sad. (everyone puts their branches down)
Hail to our King! Jesus! Jesus!
(then everyone acts like Jesus has passed by) There he goes. Bye Jesus.
When do you think Jesus will be made King? Where are his soldiers? All kings have soldiers.
New life beckons,
peace holds out its arms!
Begin your week
knowing that you are walking
straight into the embrace of God.
ALL TO WORSHIP: (from Revelations 3:7-8)
ONE: This message is sent to you by the one who is holy and true, and has the key of David to open what no one can shut and to shut what no one can open.
ALL: I know you well, you aren't strong, but you have tried to obey and have not denied My Name. Therefore, I have opened a door to you that no one can shut.
PRAYER & THE LORD'S PRAYER: Lord God, our Father, the Spirit of Jesus calls us, as He
called Your Son, to abandon our old selves and our old world to be free for new life and growth. Forgive us our fears and hesitations, lead us out of our worn-out phrases and habits, and help us to dwell in the gospel of Your Son, that His good news may become real in our times and in our world. We ask this through Christ our Lord who taught us to pray, saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.
ALL: Jesus has taught us that we must forgive, but at times we find this too hard to do. We have hurt others. At times we have become angered by the actions of another to the point that we carry a grudge, and sometimes, this grudge can define who we are.
One: We light this candle as a symbol of our faith in Jesus Christ to help us to forgive as we are forgiven, to help us love, as we are loved.
ALL: Faithful God, forgive us for our shortcomings and help us to forgive others. As we journey towards the cross this Lenten season, help us to let go of our grudges and to forgive, and to seek forgiveness where we have gone wrong. Amen.
Offertory Prayer: Good and gracious God, when Jesus was anointed at Bethany, He reminded us that our earthly time would be short in proportion to our heavenly time with You. We recognize that we only have so much time to love, to laugh, to give and to care in this world. In this time of giving we present these generous gifts to be anointed by You, Lord, to glorify the promise of everlasting life. Through Your Son, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN: Whatever wilderness the Spirit has brought to you,
walk in boldness, as a beloved Child of God. Walk in peace, under the shelter of the Most High. Walk in faith, knowing Christ walks with you. And with a touch of the Irish, may good luck be with you wherever you go, and may your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow.
"And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, whatever doors you lock on earth shall
be locked in heaven, and whatever doors you open on earth shall be open in heaven."
Keys Unlock Doors
Alexander Graham Bell once said, "When one door closes, another one opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we don't see the one that has opened for us." If we look to God, He will open many doors for us. We know that He will always be there to show us the way, because when God opens a door, He gives us the strength and the courage to go through it.
Many of us have come to a crossroad in our life, and there are signs pointing in different directions. Which way are you going to go? Sometimes we feel like we're being pulled in different directions. So which road are we going take? Jesus said, "i am the door. Whoever comes in by me will be saved." Listen to Jesus calling you, and let Him speak louder than any other voice. if we follow Him, if we go through Him, we will enjoy life with Jesus now and forever.
God has many doors ready to be opened to us. God wants us to be free from sin, temptation, sickness and poverty, so He opens the door of freedom. If we keep His word, keep His Name, and remain strong, He will open the door of opportunity. If we read our Bible, go to church and praise God, He will open the door of worship. And perhaps the most important door is the door of salvation. Jesus is the door. If we let Jesus into our hearts and have fellowship with Him, then there is no place for the temptations of the devil.
Jesus said, "I am the door." Already this morning I have gone through seven doors, including the car door and coming through the door into church. Do you remember a T.V. commercial that was on a few years ago that showed an angel on one shoulder of a man, and the devil on the other. I don't remember what the commercial was about, but I'd like to think that the angel represents God with the door of opportunity, while the devil has the door of temptation and sin.
Think again of Jesus' words, "I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved." The door will stay open, even if we weaken. God wants us to have faith. God wants to direct all of us, and open doors of witness for Him. When Jesus says, "I am the door," he was really saying that He was the door to a relationship with God. God is the doorway to eternal Life.
A Sunday School teacher wanted to teach her class about this passage from John. She brought in a big box, large enough to fit a child inside. She told the children to pretend that the box was a room and in that room was a great reward. There was only one rule to be able to get into that box. Here is the one rule: All those who did not get out of bed this morning can enter the box. Oh dear, now there's a problem. Since everyone got out of bed this morning, no one can enter the box.
So the Sunday School teacher said that since they had already broken the rule to get into the box, what if they got in another way? What if they stepped over the side and climbed in that way? Does that count? What if they cut a hole in the side and climbed in
that way? Does that count? No. The rule is there is only one way to get in the box. If you come in any other way you are a thief and a robber.
Then the teacher stood at the entrance of that box. She said, "I have now become the door. The only way to get into the box is to come through me. I am the keeper of the box. Nobody else has the key to it, so you have to come through me. Since you have already broken the rule, the only way to get into the box is to come through me. So ask me, 'Can I enter the box?' All those that ask me will be allowed in."
The teacher's lesson was showing the children that Jesus leads to God and heaven. If you have broken all of God's rules and are not allowed to go into His presence and be accepted in heaven, what do you do? You go to Christ. He is the door! You have to go through Christ to be accepted of God. Those who enter in by Christ, the Door, believing in Him, will be saved.
God's Word tells us that there is only one way to get to Him and that is through Jesus. The Parable of the Shepherd was told by Jesus to protect the people from those who were selfish and untrue. He wanted us to know the truth. And because many of the people Jesus spoke to owned sheep, He told them a story about a shepherd who really cared about his sheep.
Every morning the shepherd would come to the sheepfold, open the gate and call each sheep out by name. The sheep knew the shepherd and trusted him, so they always followed him. Sometimes thieves would come to the sheepfold and climb over the walls and try to get the sheep out, but the sheep wouldn't follow because they didn't know or trust them. At night, after a long day out in the pasture, the shepherd would bring his
sheep back home and open the gate so they could go through into the fold and be safe, warm and comfortable through the cold night.
Jesus said that He was just the door on the sheepfold and we must come through Him if we want to be God's people. So what do we have to do to become of child of God? Repentance is a good start. Ask forgiveness for our sins. And we must believe that Jesus died and rose again for us. We must ask Jesus to come, for He is the only way to God and heaven. If people tell us that we can get to heaven by any other way except through Jesus, we know that they are like the thieves in Jesus' parable.
I am holding my life right here in this bunch of keys. Stand up if you do not own any keys. No one, of course not! We need keys to unlock doors. On this key ring I have keys to my house, to my car, to the church and to the hall. I have keys to my post office box. I have keys to children's houses and I even have a key to my neighbour's house and one for his pool. People lock doors to keep thieves and perpetrators out. We have valuable things with which everyone cannot be trusted.
Some things stay locked up because the key is lost and no one knows how to get in. Over the course of history there were many things that were locked up tight, and no one knew how to get in until Christianity came with the key to the door. One door to which Christianity had the key was the door of education. There are still some places in this world, unchristian countries, that don't take a lot of stock in education, especially for girls. But, by using the key to unlock the door of education, this door would be open to health, bringing in doctors, nurses and hospitals. This would in turn open the door for the protection of the weak, the orphans, the crippled and the maimed. Untreated, these people would be left to die. But the church has opened these big doors in many places and life for those people is so much more hopeful.
There are also some smaller doors that people would like to enter, but we will need keys before they will be open to us. One of the most sought after doors is the door of popularity. Who doesn't want to be well liked? Well, there are four keys that will open that door. They are sociability, generosity, good manners and a good nature. When you put these keys on your key ring, the door of popularity will be open to you.
We all want to be happy, don't we? We can open the door to happiness with the keys of little courtesies, pleasant words, smiles, well wishing and a clean conscience. Put these on your key ring.
Now let's try the door of great opportunity. How we long to open the door to big things! Here are the keys that will turn the locks; dependability, high ideals, promptness, hard work and determination. Put these on your key ring and close it up tight, for there are other keys which will open doors that we don't want to enter. These keys are grumble, nag, complain, exaggerate, bluff, half-done and late. These keys open the door of failure.
But the greatest key in the world is the gospel of Christ. This is the key that opens the kingdom of God. This key is available to you!
LENT -LETTING GO
Matthew 19:: 19-22, Genesis 12: 1-4
I remember back in my teenage years in Verdun when groups of us kids would go to St. John the Devine Anglican Church to celebrate ASH WEDNESDAY and as I recall it was pretty gloomy!
Imagine we gave up half a day of school to put sack cloth, I think they were burlap bags, over our street clothes—ashes and oil was spread on our foreheads—and we were told we must GIVE UP something for forty days until EASTER. I wonder if any of you had that same experience?
Celebrating ASH Wednesday seems to have fallen by the wayside in most churches, but a few years ago I attended an ASH WEDNESDAY at the United Church in Howick it had a totally different atmosphere and was quite uplifting.—we renewed our Baptism-were anointed with oil—participated in an AGAPE love feast—after the service there was a luncheon and we exchanged ideas on what we planned to GIVE UP for LENT.
Giving something up for Lent was always troublesome-like New Years Resolutions—you know chocolate-coffee at Tim Horton’s- lose weight, It’s pretty hard to find something to give up, especially when everything is going great, I have everything I need—life is good.
In the scripture the rich man asked Jesus, "What must I give up to have a better life? Jesus said, “Keep the Commandments” and the young man said “which one? Jesus replies, “All of them!” but teacher I've kept all them—but my life is still not satisfying, what do I lack?”
Then Jesus said “your lack one thing; go, sell what you own and give the money to the poor then you will have treasures in heaven. The man is shocked. He cannot do it and he went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Is this is what following Jesus means?
Is this the way we often feel?
The man’s wealth and possessions held him in bondage preventing him from having faith in Jesus and discovering a more abundant life.
I know we aren’t wealthy like Bill Gates with 160 billion or Warren Buffet with just 68 billion but, all in all, most of us are wealthy in many ways compared to others—food, clothing and shelter—a bit of savings—gov’t. pension-healthcare-cars-vacations. Let’s face it, we are all pretty wealthy!
Obviously, it is good to have some wealth, for wealth provides both comfort and security. To some wealth seen as a blessing from God a sign that one has lived right
Would it be just and honourable to give away all possessions if it should mean being a ward of the state or homeless? I don’t think Jesus had that in mind.
I wonder if Luke meant these words to be taken literally —OR IS IT A METAPHOR ABOUT HOW WE SHOULD USE OUR POSSESSIONS.
As I was thinking about Lent and the idea to GIVE UP something I enjoy, for forty days, I came across a article titled “GIVING UP SOMETHING VERSUS LETTING GO!
“Letting go” maybe that is something we could explore. As a Lenten practice.
I remembered a Mark Twain type recipe that describes the difficulty of LETTING GO. “How To catch A Monkey.” It’s easy! You need a jar with an opening wide enough so the monkey can reach inside with his open hand. Put a banana or some other fruit in the jar. When the monkey reaches inside to get the fruit he will grasp it in a closed fist.
He doesn’t want to let go of the fruit but unless he does he won’t be able to get it out-- he is caught. The monkey will have to let go of the banana or hang on and drag the jar around with him -- it would make a real mess up his life. Just like us by keeping a tight fist not giving up our excess possessions can weight us down.
I wonder what’s the difference between “letting- go” from the common practice of “giving-up.”
Giving up has the connotation of “denying ourselves a pleasure” we normally indulge in like giving up deserts- not buying Loto tickets, less TV-maybe giving up the snacks a night.
LETTING GO seems means getting rid of some of the clutter” in our lives—we all have clutter, things we would like to drop, at least for a little while—a personality trait we need to let go of—a bad habit—a dependency on other people—maybe too much shopping.
It’s only when we “let go” we have room to receive
Think back of the monkey and our grasp. If we’ve wrapped up tightly around something-mentally or physically—we can’t reach out for something new unless we get rid of the old. It’s like breathing- unless we exhale and empty our lungs we can’t inhale new fresh air. We all know fresh air gives us life. So we need to think of things we can let go of to make room for a new experience of God in our lives.
We all know God is constantly trying to do new things for us-with us and through us; keeping our options open and unattached makes us available to receive what is new.
How about the “busyness in our lives,” –never time to be still. Maybe it’s letting go of anger--- envy--- impatience--- our petty jealousies—prejudices or being judgmental of others. Are these some of the clutter we need to let go.
Maybe it’s just LETTING GO of the “the notion” or we could say the thought---that new furniture, a new hairstyle, a new car, or maybe a holiday will give our lives more meaning.
If we unwrap ourselves from our grasp on things, let go of things that we are convinced offer us security and certainty maybe we can be open to something new God has to offer us.
In Genesis we found Abram, 75 years old, he and his elderly wife Sarai and their nephew Lot leaving of the country which has been his father’s homeland for 250 years. Abram LET GO of the comfort and security of his family and friends. Following God wishes he set out on a journey to an unknown destination.
Think of the story how Jesus had to LET GO of many temptations to be in tune with God.
Remember Jesus alone in the wilderness thinking about his future and how to play his cards. Weakened by starvation, having not eating for many days, he was tempted with the many avenues open to him:
1--He could change stones into bread and eliminate hunger it would attract followers. 2- he could join in with the corrupt ruling parties and become a popular politician this would give him power to change things. 3—then again he could do sensational tricks like jumping off the highest building and land safely amongst the crowd.
Can we imagine what Christianity would be like today, if Jesus had given in to these temptations.
We can say that Jesus was “letting go!” of some wild notions:
-He let go of the lure of power and control.
-He let go of compromising with evil to win people.
-He let go the idea of doing sensational things to attract people.
In LETTING GO, Jesus left all these temptations behind in the desert in order to bring the message of God’s love, a love freely given to all people.
During our Lenten Journey, we are being challenged to imitate Jesus, to “let go” of the things that blur our vision of a more abundant life to be found in following Jesus’ teachings.
Each of us has a choice, we can stay as we are and enjoy the journey through Lent, we might decide to give up some little thing, like sweets or we might try out a new spiritual practice of “LETTING GO some of the clutter in our lives!”
Whichever we choose we can be certain at the end of our LENTEN PILGRIMAGE all of us will be transformed into NEW EASTER PEOPLE!