But this command I gave them, "Obey my voice and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you."
24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but in the stubborness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels, and looked backward rather than forward.
25 From the day that your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day;
26 yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their ancestors did.
27 So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you.
28 You shall say to them: This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.
29 Cut off your hair and throw it away;
raise a lamentation on the bare heights,
for the Lord has rejected and forsaken
the generation that provoked his wrath.
Lent gives us the opportunity each year, and each day if we dare, to experience God's power over our participation in the forces against life. There is a reason sin and death are mentioned together so frequently. Not just because one leads to the other, but also because God knows that belief in the resurrection is a bit of a leap for us and so graciously has provided us a way for us to build our faith.
Sin is the little death. The alienation, pain, separation and destruction sin causes in our life is legion. Sin can kill our dreams, our relationships, our health and our hope. When we enter the process of repentance, and truthfully pursue God's vision and power of how we might be, and then seek to live it out, God will meet us more than halfway.
Lived experience of placing oneself in the hands of the living God is awesome, scary, loving and liberating. Experiencing God's power and faithfulness in overcoming sin, the little death, in our life builds our faith that the resurrections and liberations we experience now are a foretaste of what is to come when we face bodily death.
We know surely and clearly that pain and death is not the end of the story. Resurrection is.
sermon by The Rev. Claire Woodley-Aitchison.