When my daughters were young, we decided to go to Florida for vacation.  Prior to that, we had gone camping on our vacations. This time we planned to visit a number of places, including Disney, so we would be staying at hotels.  Well, my daughters were used to packing for camping.  So my older daughter packed her flashlight.  I reassured her that she did not need to do that because we would not have to walk across the campground in the middle of the night (for those middle of the night trips to the bathrooms).

Well, wouldn’t you know it, on our first night in Florida, the lights in our room and all the other rooms went out.  Someone had driven a car into the street pole that held the transformer for the whole block. All the lights on the street were out. My daughter, however, told me not to worry.  She had brought her flashlight. She was prepared. So we had all the light we needed. 

As Christians, we are called to carry the light of Christ.  During this time of Lent, let us recall that we carry that light within us.  Let us ask if we are prepared to shine the Light of Christ whenever or wherever it is needed.

Let us sing…”This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…  Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

“ Temples”
In our scripture reading, we hear of Jesus’ anger at the commerce happening in the temple. He
was then asked by what authority he overturns tables and casts out those conducting business.
Rather than answer directly he changes the subject. He tells the people that he will, “Destroy this
temple and in three days I will raise it up.” John tells us he was speaking of his body.

Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians tells them, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that
God’s Spirit dwells in you? * (1 Corinthians 3.16) Paul was also speaking to us. We are all temples.

In this season of Lent, when we think about sacrifice but also about transformation, let’s consider
how we honor and care for our own bodies, as temples of the Spirit and as the body of Christ on
earth. Do we try to love ourselves as we love our neighbors?

In her book, Altar on the World, Barbara Brown Taylor speaks of mindfulness and taking the time to be reverent. She asks what would have happened if Moses, when he saw the burning bush, had decided to continue on his way up the mountain and to check out the bush on his way back? I wonder, what do we miss by walking or running through the days of our lives? Do we pause for mystery? Are we open to experiences when God invites us into awe or wonder?

In Psalm 29, the psalmist declares: “The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.”

After hearing Mark’s gospel this morning we could add
”The voice of the Lord tears open heavens.”
“The voice of the Lord says, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

The voice of the Lord was speaking to Jesus. But the voice of the Lord speaks to us; perhaps in the silence, perhaps through another, perhaps in the storms of our lives. Let us reflect on how God might have spoken to us and might speak to us now. This Lent, let us make time to listen as God call us “beloved.”

13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham… 18 Hoping against hope, he believed…”
 Romans 4: 13-16, 18)
Abraham’s faith enable him to trust in his God. The seeds of faith may have been planted by God, but Abraham lived his faith. Abraham and God had a relationship based on faith and God’s grace, not some legalistic regulations. As we consider our faith, let us recall that our faith and our relationship with God go hand in hand. May this time of Lent be a time of looking at our faith and our relationship with God. Trusting in God’s grace, may we grow in faith and deepen our relationship with our God.

Psalm 107
Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Many Troubles
1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures for ever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
those he redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.*
4 Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to an inhabited town;
5 hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress;
7 he led them by a straight way,
until they reached an inhabited town.
8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
9 For he satisfies the thirsty,
and the hungry he fills with good things.
10 Some sat in darkness and in gloom,
prisoners in misery and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 Their hearts were bowed down with hard labour;
they fell down, with no one to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress;
14 he brought them out of darkness and gloom,
and broke their bonds asunder.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze,
and cuts in two the bars of iron.
17 Some were sick* through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress;
20 he sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
22 And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices,
and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.
23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the mighty waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their calamity;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunkards,
and were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out from their distress;
29 he made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they had quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
33 He turns rivers into a desert,
springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste,
because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.
35 He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry live,
and they establish a town to live in;
37 they sow fields, and plant vineyards,
and get a fruitful yield.
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly,
and he does not let their cattle decrease.
39 When they are diminished and brought low
through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,
40 he pours contempt on princes
and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41 but he raises up the needy out of distress,
and makes their families like flocks.
42 The upright see it and are glad;
and all wickedness stops its mouth.
43 Let those who are wise give heed to these things,
and consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Psalm 19

God’s Glory in Creation and the Law
To the leader. A Psalm of David.

To the leader. A Psalm of David.
1 The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament* proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice* goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.

In the heavens* he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hidden from its heat.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent;*
do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 29

1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,*
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy splendour.

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,*
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, ‘Glory!’

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!