Sermon: Quinquagesima 3 3 2019 Fr. Michael Cawthon
Ash Wednesday is this week, the beginning the Lenten Season for 2019.
Last week Fr. George asked how two people can hear the same thing and yet receive two different messages,
as well he spoke of hardened hearts and of dirt that is good ground,
and that of bad.
In today’s Collect we beseech that the Holy Ghost to be POURED into our hearts; not sprinkled, but yes a good ole gully washer as we have recently.
The Epistle speaks of a child; that when we were, we spoke as a child and understood as a child.
But as a man (an adult) we are to now put away childish things…
It is now that – WE ARE TO GROW UP!
That pretty well represents the purpose of the Lenten Season: a time of GROWING UP SPIRITUALLY.
In the Gospel reading today, Jesus takes the twelve with him to Jerusalem
and basically he tells them that it is time for them to GROW UP.
He informs them that the mocking’s,
the spitting upon,
and finally the killing of and the rising again
of the Son of Man was about to take place, as prophesized.
But, they understood him not (!) as their hearts were still hardened…
Just as so many hearts today are hardened …
how about our hearts?
As it was Jesus goal to soften the twelve’s hearts,
it is our duty to God (our mission) to allow the Spirit to soften our own hearts.
Last week we were told that we are of dirt and that Jesus was the seed; thus it is indeed time, for us to be nurtured.
Allowing that seed (Jesus Christ Our Saviour) to grow within each one of us.
This Lenten Season let us truly begin to mature and GROW UP.
In our lives, we must make the decision (no one can do this for us)
to fully receive what has been given to each one of us.
That greatest of gifts (of which I spoke of a few weeks back)
is the Gift of Love that He has given to us –
The Grace of God.
It is His Love that – we must grab hold of and never let it go.
It is only one thing in this world that is truly free, truly eternal, and it will never dessert you nor let you down.
It is not through “study of scripture”, or of “obeying laws” and “keeping of rituals”,
that will cultivate this wonderful gift of Jesus within your heart,
the Gospel gives us an example of this process,
as do as the Blind Man and learn to do as he,
We must learn to cry out as well –
to call Jesus (to call out to the Son of David)
“have mercy upon me…”
And if we do not believe He has heard us –
we are to cry so much the more –
scream it if you have to…
Cry out to JESUS FROM the bottom of your hearts
“have mercy upon me…”
We must do as the blind man – because we are blind.
Our hearts are darkened and hardened,
our minds are finite as we seek the eternal,
our souls are weak and often need refreshing and renewing.
But, if we come to Jesus with a soften heart then we will “receive our sight” to see as a Christian, and to live as a Christian.
This we cannot do on our own…so we now come to the Lenten Season.
It is up to you to use this time wisely.
You can stand as the emperor without clothes, or you adorn yourself with the clothing of righteousness –
By clothing yourself within His Word and within His Sacraments.
If you do so, then on that Glorious Easter Morning you will see the true Glory of our Lord…
Let us, together, put on this righteousness by beginning with prayer.
Let us seek him, call upon Him, and pray for Him to soften our hearts,
so that we may hear his voice.
As did, “Mary Magdalene” as her lord simply said her name “MARY.”
By softening our hearts, by calming down, by removing the unnecessary noise from our lives –
we will begin to slowly hear the voice of Jesus as He calls our name:
Imagine your heart, nurtured and ready to receive the seed, and when he simply says your name…
You will hear that voice above all the noise of this world, but only if you have a humble spirit and a softened heart.
Is it worth the effort?
Are you ready to receive Him when calls your name.
Are you ready to proclaim “come Lord Jesus”?
His Church offers you much during the Lenten season to assist you with this softening process.
From Imposition of ashes in which we are reminded: “that dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
The Sacrament of the Eucharist offered often and will strengthen and refreshed you as you travel your Lenten Journey.
Every Friday evening we have Evening Prayer followed by the “Stations of the Cross”
and usually some of us break our fast, as a church family, we go to have a meal somewhere.
We have the Ember Days of the Lenten Season in which we pray for Christ’s Church that it may stay strong and secure.
We have Passion Sunday and Palm Sunday in which we go through those difficult last days for our Lord.
We will celebrate with our Lord Jesus Christ
His initial Holy Eucharist, Maundy Thursday,
as He initiates the First Holy Eucharist with the words
“this is my body” and “this is my blood” – Do This!
Following, we strip the Altar and clear the Sanctuary bare; and finally, place a cross with those dreadful thorns in front of the Altar.
Symbolizing His words distinctly: It is Finished!
On Good Friday we will spend three hours in a structured meditation (along with the Penitential Office from the Prayer Book)
as we re-live His Passion upon the Cross.
All of these things assist you as
‘YOU GROW UP” in your Faith
by “softening your hearts.”
Walk this Lenten Season with your family within your church –
which is His Church.
Give of yourself that you may receive of Him –
The HOPE OF HIS GLORY.