First Sunday in Lent – Feb. 18, 2018

Psalm 22:23-31: Genesis 22:1-18: James 1:12-18: Mark 1:9-15

Children’s chat: A Kingdom bigger than our hand.

Grace, mercy and peace in Jesus name. Children, how big do you think God’s kingdom is? Can I give you a hint> it is bigger than anything you could handle!  God Kingdom is for all time, beyond time and forever. It was before you were born and will be after you die. It is bigger than you can see or imagine. It includes everything that you see and that which you will never see. It includes everything that was ever made and will be made- created and begotten. God Kingdom is more than we could ever imagine.

Jesus has come to us so that we would know that the Kingdom of God is at hand. The Kingdom of God exists and that we are a part of the Kingdom of God. Isn’t that great? Do you know the best part about the Kingdom of God? In the Kingdom of God, we know the love that God has for each of us now and forever! He always loves us no matter what else is going on in our lives.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, thank-you for bringing us with You into the Kingdom of God. We know that we are the beloved Children of God. Would you sing with me: Jesus loves me this I know? Let us sing.

Adult Sermon: The kingdom of God.

“The Time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe in the Gospel. “(Mk 1:15b).

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Dearly beloved in Christ, today’s gospel for the First Sunday of Lent, Mark 1: 9 -15, is the same gospel we heard four weeks ago.  The words Jesus proclaims in this gospel, the first recorded words of his public ministry, are so profound we should embrace them every day. After spending forty days of temptation in the desert, Jesus enters Galilee preaching, “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”    The time is now, the kingdom of God is here now, turn your lives around now and believe, really BELIEVE, the Gospel (Good News) that God loves us right now. Saints, believing in the gospel message is not just an intellectual exercise; it is an exercise of the heart.  Our Saviors’ call to repentance is a call for a radical change of heart (metanoia).  The term metanoia comes from ancient Greek, meaning to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent and have a spiritual conversion. Jesus invites us to repent so that we can experience fulfillment and enter into the Kingdom of God.  This is what Lent is all about.  Beginning with Ash Wednesday and continuing until we celebrate passion week, we are invited to turn away from all the things that separate us from the love of God.  We are invited to unload all the things that drag us down. We are invited to open our hearts to God’s love.  And as Jesus leads us throughout these next 40days of Lent, we become renewed persons of His grace and forgiveness. That is Divine grace and forgiveness in which we become present within the promised kingdom of God.  As St. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5: 17, “whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Let us pray:   God of mercy, you give us the forty days of Lent to help us become aware of the desert in our hearts. Thank you for letting us come to you with a life marked with the scars of our own defeats and failures and those caused by others.

Heal us, Lord, and forgive us, make us whole and wholesome again. Give us the strength of Jesus, that we may be faithful to you and live for one another.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

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