Third Sunday in Lent
INTRODUCTION TO THE DAY
The third covenant in this year’s Lenten readings is the central one of Israel’s history: the gift of the law to those God freed from slavery. The Ten Commandments are one of the chief parts of Luther’s catechism, a core piece of Baptismal instruction. They begin with the statement that because God alone has freed us from the powers that oppressed us, we are to let nothing else claim first place in our lives. When Jesus throws the merchants out of the temple, he is defending the worship of God alone and rejecting the ways commerce and profit-making can become our gods.
FIRST READING: Exodus 20: 1-17
After escaping from slavery, the Israelites come to Mount Sinai, where God teaches them how to live in community. The Ten Commandments proclaim that God alone is worthy of worship. Flowing from God, the life of community flourishes when based on honesty, trust, fidelity, and respect for life, family, and property.
PSALM: Psalm 19
SECOND READING: 1st Corinthians 1: 18-25
The Word of the Cross is pure foolishness and nonsense to the World because it claims that God is mostly revealed in weakness, humiliation, and death. But through such divine foolishness and weakness, God is working to save us. The center of Paul’s preaching is Christ crucified.
GOSPEL: John 2: 13-22
Jesus attacks the commercialization of religion by driving merchants out of the Temple. When challenged, he responds mysteriously, with the first prediction of his own death and resurrection. In the midst of a seemingly stable religious center, Jesus suggests that the center itself has changed.
WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
March is Women’s History Month. Today we acknowledge the women of the Bible, the Church, and our own families. We will not dwell on it all month, but please take a moment to greet the women in your lives and take a moment to pray for the women who have made you who you are, past and present.
LENT IS HERE
Preventing Lead Exposure in Milwaukee Communities
At Hephatha Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wis., a city with high rates of both poverty and lead exposure, leaders are working hard to keep children safe.
The church, with support from ELCA World Hunger, provides lead-free kits with water filters, tape and mops. As the kits are shared, they explain that the tape can cover lead paint that is chipping, and the mops clean up dust from the paint so that children and adults don’t inhale it.
The church also helps adults learn about the dangers of lead, which can cause serious health problems and is especially dangerous for children and pregnant women. Exposure to lead can cause severe, long-term effects ranging from behavioral problems to anemia and kidney damage.
But filters, tape and mops can go only so far. The issue of lead—and the crisis of unsafe water, more generally—is an issue of justice. Environmental policies, housing regulations and health care access are all woven together when it comes to keeping people safe from lead poisoning.
That’s why Hephatha also worked with neighbors to start an advocacy group to talk with legislators about keeping the community safe. Pastor Mary Martha of Hephatha links this work to the calling of the church: Advocacy. Advocacy and education “[lead] us back to the font, where we stand with people at the Holy water that makes us God’s children and sends us out to serve God’s justice.” This is just one of many ELCA World Hunger-funded projects around the World ensuring people have access to safe water.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY
Next week we will do a little green thing. We will not have a big deal about the Irish or St. Patrick. (However, you do know how Germans love their beer.) If you would like, you can wear green and we might have a little something after the service that will also be green. (If you have a favorite green dish, you are welcome to share it.) Plan on spending a few minutes after the service for some fellowship.
Please keep these people in your prayers: Michael Koch, Wesley and JoAnne Porter, Jerri Morton Carlin and her husband who is fighting bile duct cancer, the Bausch/Eaton family at the passing of Allan Bausch, and all those who are suffering from COVID-19. Please remember all of our shut ins and sick. (Also, pray for the families and caretakers of those on the prayer list.)
FUNDS FOR ZION
Please check the bulletin board behind the office door for all of the sign-up sheets for this year. Communion, birthday Sundays, and Worship Assistants/helpers. Thank you so much!
You can also remember special occasions or special people by contributing money that would normally be used for altar flowers. Instead the donation goes to our local food pantry.