March 24th (Third Sunday in Lent): “Let Them Return to the Lord” Currency of Relationship
Isaiah 55:1-9 (1 Corintians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9)
Relationship is only by invitation. How many people are you in relationship with who ultimately did not invite you into that relationship as you did them. One may be acquainted with many people, but real relationship and connection is by invitation. Fear is the greatest barrier to relationship. Fear is the barrier that blocks the invitation to move from acquaintance to relationship. Perfect love drives out fear. In our reading from Isaiah, God invites the whole world into relationship. This is not a relationship that is built on scarcity but God’s gracious invitation without cost to those whom the invitation has been extended. That invitation is to all who seek the Lord. This reading from Corinthians is one of the most misquoted passages around. The misquote goes like this, “God will not put more on you than you can bear.” Careful reading will show that life will test everyone and there is no testing any of us face that could not happen to anyone else. None the less, God will provide the way through or out. We know that way is led by his son, Jesus Christ. It is a gracious invitation to relationship. Tragedies were often used to explain God’s judgement others experienced. They must have been worse people. Jesus explains that judgement can be applied to all, but even more so comes the invitation to repent and return to relationship with God for all people. God is not focused on who not to be in relationship with. God, instead, offers relationship freely to all. How have we received God’s gracious invitation of relationship? How does that relationship create something new?