Seek the Lord

March 20th 2022 – Hardraw & Hawes –   Is.55:1-9, 1Cor.10:1-13, Luke 13:1-9

‘Seek the Lord’ 

The season of Lent is traditionally a time of self-examination, penitence and denial whilst reflecting upon the bigger issues of life. Until the last few years, this has been done within a fairly static world situation but this is most certainly not the case in the days we are currently living in. When so many, so near are suffering so much, the bigger questions of life and death, suffering and justice are being considered more openly. The question ‘Why?’ is usually never far away and invariably the Lord gets the blame for not doing anything about it or for letting it happen in the first place.             In our gospel reading we see that Jesus himself was posed with similar questions in relation to shocking contemporary events of violence and disaster. His response (as always) is to offer compassion and understanding but to ask a bigger question: how do we prepare ourselves for such events? What can we do in response?

Scripture tells us and reminds us that suffering is not a part of God’s original created order. Suffering is created from selfishness and greed.

The prophet Isaiah speaks of God’s heart – God’s invitation to discover him, know him and receive from him. It’s an urgent invitation, it’s a universal invitation, and it’s an invitation that promises life. The things and ‘stuff’ that we have all craved after will not satisfy the spiritual thirst and hunger in our lives – only a relationship with God will do that. God, through Isaiah, speaks plainly – don’t waste time and effort trying to find satisfaction somewhere else and with something else. Receive it from me. Don’t waste time over it either. ‘Seek the Lord while he may be found’ – decide whilst you can. Jesus picks up on this urgency in response to the disasters that are being shared with him. You don’t know what time you have left so get right with God now.

As we watch and hear of the events unfolding in Europe we need to remember that Jesus said that events like these things would occur. ‘In this world you will have trouble – but take heart; I have overcome the world.’Jn16:33.  What matters is how we choose to respond to them personally and corporately. We should respond, as so many are doing, with common humanity and love; to help those in need and to seek to do all we can to ensure that justice prevails and events like these do not occur in the first place, but Jesus also reminds us of the need to secure our future by placing our trust in him. The apostle Peter writes to the church that it is not God’s will for ‘anyone to persh’2Ptr3:9.  – to live and die without discovering God’s purpose for their lives and that takes us to Jesus’ parable of the Fig Tree. The parable of the ‘second chance’.

A Fig Tree should be producing fruit in its third year – this one isn’t, but instead of digging it up and throwing it away, the gardener wants to persevere.

There may be something hidden affecting its root. Some blockage preventing it receiving life. They want to nurture it, care for it & feed it to give it all the opportunities it requires to respond and be fruitful.

Many are searching for meaning and answers and don’t know where to begin. Religion will not be the answer but Jesus always is. Knowing him. Rules will not bring answers but relationship with him changes things.

I’ve had the privilege this week of spending time with a lady whose life is drawing to a close. We’ve chatted and prayed together and with the knowledge that her time was limited she shared significant events from her life as she began to put her ‘affairs in order’. After praying with her again her son entered the room and took her hand. “Hi Mum .. are you ok?” With her breath failing her, she replied;                    “I’m good”, she said. “It’s all good”.

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near’Is.55:6

                                                     Music & Prayer: ‘Knowing you Jesus’ – what might be blocking us from receiving Jesus?                                                   Some for the first time and others to refresh and renew them back into wholeness?