Message for Lent 4 – Sunday, March 14, 2021

Brothers & Sisters

Our journey through Lent has reached the half way mark, and so one of the many names given to this Sunday is Mid-Lent Sunday.  It is also known as refreshment Sunday or rejoice Sunday, when one is permitted to take a short break from the austerity of Lent and sound a note of joy.  Before the Three year Cycle of readings was introduced, the gospel was always the account of the feeding of the five thousand and that may well have influenced the use of the word refreshment to describe the Sunday.  It is a helpful thought that today we refresh ourselves to continue our Lenten journey. But we are not finished with names as yet.

 Another popular name is Mothering Sunday and here the mother has variously been described.  In one instance the reference is to “Jerusalem above which is the mother of us all” as was expressed in the old epistle for the day.  In another instance mother referred to “the Cathedral”, the mother-church of the Diocese and this led to the encouragement of the faithful to make contributions to the Cathedral.  More recently it has been used to refer to our own mothers, whether biological or surrogate, and tributes to mothers have been common on this Sunday.

We must not fail however to keep our eyes fixed on the goal of our Lenten observance so very well expressed in the “Proper Preface” that is used throughout the season, and it is, that we may come to the fullness of grace which God has prepared for those who love Him.  Theunderstanding is that those of us who are on this journey are people who love the Lord.  The disciplines that we engage in, the rule of life to which we commit ourselves comes as a result of our obedient response to the experience of being in love with Jesus.  It is His love for us and our love for Him that make the exercise more than a dull duty, but a real joy.  The outcome is that we are growing in grace, or we may express this in another way, we are being filled more and more with the grace of God.

In Luke 15:11-32, which is the account of the return of the prodigal, we see the amazing grace of God at work welcoming home a wayward son.  What a display of unconditional love!  We need to appreciate that God welcomes each one of us in this special way.  We cannot afford to be reluctant in welcoming God’s other children, but rather follow the example of Jesus who took the initiative to join in the search and to encourage God’s children to return to Him.  Fullness of grace alone makes this possible, so let us continue to pray to the one who gives more grace.

May we all be refreshed today to continue the journey.

Think on these things!