Sunday, March 7, 2021

3rd Sunday of lent; I shall speak of Temple, authority and Frogs!

Live video archive

 Let’s start with three deep breaths and relax….


Opening Reflection: Psalm 19 the message

1-2 God’s glory is on tour in the skies,

    God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.

Madame Day holds classes every morning,

    Professor Night lectures each evening.

3-4 Their words aren’t heard,

    their voices aren’t recorded,

But their silence fills the earth:

    unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.

4-5 God makes a huge dome

    for the sun—a superdome!

The morning sun’s a new husband

    leaping from his honeymoon bed,

The day breaking sun an athlete

    racing to the tape.

6 That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies

    from sunrise to sunset,

Melting ice, scorching deserts,

    warming hearts to faith.

7-9 The revelation of GOD is whole

    and pulls our lives together.

The signposts of GOD are clear

    and point out the right road.

The life-maps of GOD are right,

    showing the way to joy.

The directions of GOD are plain

    and easy on the eyes.

GOD’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,

    with a lifetime guarantee.

The decisions of GOD are accurate

    down to the nth degree.

10 God’s Word is better than a diamond,

    better than a diamond set between emeralds.

You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring,

    better than red, ripe strawberries.

11-14 There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger

    and directs us to hidden treasure.

Otherwise how will we find our way?

    Or know when we play the fool?

Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!

    Keep me from stupid sins,

    from thinking I can take over your work;

Then I can start this day sun-washed,

    scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.

These are the words in my mouth;

    these are what I chew on and pray.

Accept them when I place them

    on the morning altar,

O God, my Altar-Rock,

    God, Priest-of-My-Altar.

Let us pray: 

God of glory and might,

speak to us with your wisdom,

that we might truly hear you.

Display your majesty,

that we might truly see you.

Transform the chaos of our lives

with the clarity of your call,

that we might worship you in spirit

and in truth. Amen.

Here we begin today’s worship


Call to Worship 

L: Called by Christ,

P: we gather as one.

L: Blessed by God’s wisdom,

P: we gather to learn.

L: Amazed by God’s love,

P: we gather to worship.

 Opening Hymn: Spirit of Gentleness #286


John 2:13-22

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

The word of God for the people of God!

Thanks be to God!


Sermon: Temple, Authority and Frogs!

The Gospel of john comes out of what is known as the Johannine community there are few theories about this group but one of the most common is that they were a community of believers who once practiced in the synagogue and then were kicked out.  They also, by reading Johns Gospel and letters are much more mystical then the other writers.

The writer of Johns Gospel tells us that he has a particular purpose in his writing.  John writes of the Baptizer that “7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.”

John also goes on to write

“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (20:30-31)” John is writing so that you may believe whereas the Synoptic Gospels, Mathew mark and Luke are also with that purpose but in a different way.  Thy tend to chronologically write of Jesus life.

Where the synoptic Gospels want to show you Jesus life in chronological order then this incident becomes one of the reason for Jesus’ eventual arrest and crucifixion. “the chief priests and the scribes and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him” Luke 19:47

But for John he is showing us something different he wants us to see and hear the same story but in a different way…

Though John was written last, John’s Gospel may be written closer to the heart of a community that has experienced the destruction of the temple and the exile form the Jewish community. “While John’s Gospel may have been written after the other Gospels, it was early enough to have been written by the Apostle himself, a man who saw the events firsthand and recorded them within the lifetime of those who would know if he was lying.”[1]

John “The narrator now describes the situation in the temple: “He found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables” (v. 14). Given the Passover setting, these elements are certainly not out of place. Part of the festival worship involved the sacrifice of an unblemished animal, and the availability of animals for people travelling from a distance (who might risk sullying an animal brought with them) was important. As well, one could only pay the annual “temple tax” in Tyrian coinage, so money-changers provided an essential service.”[2] The temple is all set up for a normal festival weekend.

Interestingly we know Jesus has seen this before “Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.” (Luke 2:42) We must assume that he continued this tradition.  So, something significant has happened, but what is it? John is using this story to demonstrate something new and different in Jesus as compared to other people. Jesus has stepped into his Authoritative role as The Christ, the anointed one.

Gilberto ruiz explains;

“The effect of Jesus’ actions in verses 15-16 -- his driving out the sheep and cattle (possibly the merchants too, if they are included in the “all” of verse 15, which is difficult to determine grammatically), his pouring out the coins and overturning the tables, his order for the dove-sellers to remove the doves (locked in cages, which is why he cannot drive them out with the whip) and for the temple to cease being a marketplace -- is to bring the selling to a halt. By taking on the temple’s economic apparatus in this way, Jesus assumes the authority to dictate temple practice.”[3]

By disrupting the well-established and accepted economic practices of the temple, Jesus publicly reveals he is more than a pilgrim visiting the temple. He is Son of the God who dwells in that temple, and as such he has the authority to disrupt the temple’s usual activities.

Remembering Psalm 69:9, the disciples in verse 17 perceive Jesus as demonstrating zeal for God’s “house” (the Psalm quote shares the word “house” with Jesus’ saying in verse 16). This zeal distinguishes him from the majority of temple pilgrims who participated in the temple’s sacred economy. As God’s Son, he can disrupt the temple’s activities and in doing so demonstrate a zeal like that of the psalmist, who like other Jewish heroes said to have zeal represents God’s interests on earth (e.g., Numbers 25:11) and endures hardships as a result (Psalm 69:4, 7-12).1[4]

It is interesting to note that in Johns gospel there are Just 7 signs;

“Changing water into wine at Cana in John 2:1-11 - "the first of the signs"

Healing the royal official's son in Capernaum in John 4:46-54

Healing the paralytic at Bethesda in John 5:1-15

Feeding the 5000 in John 6:5-14

Jesus walking on water in John 6:16-24

Healing the man blind from birth in John 9:1-7

The raising of Lazarus in John 11:1-45”[5]

Jesus is just beginning his ministry. Right after the miracle at Cana in Galilee, he returned to Capernaum "with his mother and his brothers and his disciples" (2:12).  John tells us in 2:11 that his disciples "believed in him" after the first sign of changing water to wine.   Now, in this passage, we will see the disciples actively engaged in trying to understand this Jesus in whom they "believe" with the help of Scripture.”[6]

There is an evolution of faith happening in this writing.  Jesus changes water to wine, the disciples believe. But in this instance there is a pause for it isn’t till all is said and done that the disciples believe.  The disciples do hold as remembering the sacred text. They recall the psalmist quote and compare it to Jesus’ action. One commentator states:

“In fact, the "remembering" of Scripture and Jesus' own words is at the center of the lives of Jesus' disciples. How useful it is to see Jesus' own disciples coming to deeper realization of what it means to believe in Jesus. Gradually, they come more fully to understand how Jesus serves the God who has sent him out of love for the world.”[7]

In many ways this is what we are called to do just as the wedding at caanan evokes a immediate simplistic respons we now can see that

 “Belief on the basis of Jesus' first sign would quickly prove shallow, even untenable. That belief, important as it may have been, must be deepened and extended. The cleansing of the temple elaborates Jesus' identity for his disciples and for John's readers. In addition, it prompts disciples then and now toward on-going engagement with Scripture as God's reliable (if not always crystalline) word about God's purposes in this world which God loves.”[8]

The commentator goes on

“Central to the passage, and even more so for its use as a Lenten text, is the act of interpretation and remembering. Both times the disciples appear, they are remembering. In verse 17, they reflect on Jesus' quotation of Zechariah 14:20-21 in terms of Psalm 69:9. Jesus explains the temple cleansing in prophetic terms decrying the use of the temple for trade.

Yes, the "trade" in question was legitimate and necessary for pilgrims and others who did not have suitable coinage to purchase the animals needed in temple worship. That historical fact is not relevant. Rather, Jesus is declaring himself both as prophet and as one who claims that the Lord's house is his "Father's" house. His disciples have the first hint of the extreme conflict that will be at the heart of Jesus' ministry, and recognize it as foreboding Jesus' death.

“In spite of their dawning comprehension of perils that surround Jesus, Son of God, King of Israel (1:49), the disciples are no more able than the "Jews" to grasp fully Jesus' statement in verse 19. “Jesus answered them Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (And remember, the disciples themselves, like Jesus, are also Jews). Jesus offers a sign so outrageous and so incomprehensible; it is not until after his resurrection that his disciples understand what he has just said. Jesus seems to speak of the temple but does not. Or does he?”[9]

“the reference to the three days is a foreshadowing of the resurrection but also the ascension. As a result, Jerusalem is at once the location of the completeness of Jesus’ ministry -- his incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension -- not just the place of his death. If the temple symbolizes the location and presence of God, Jesus is essentially saying to the Jewish leaders that he is the presence of God. Where one looks for God, expects to find God, imagines God to be, are all at stake for the Gospel of John. In Jesus, God is right here, right in front of you. That Jesus is the revelation of God, the one and only God (John 1:18), will be repeatedly reinforced with different sets of images, different characters, different directives, all pointing back to this essential truth.”[10]

Jesus’ play on words and signs as we now understand it because the writer has made it clear that all the disciples now understand it (after the resurrection, allows for further exploration. Jesus is saying my body, this temple will be destroyed and resurrected in three days.  John is saying this here is our center of faith for the authority of God lies in the body of Christ.

During lent we are called to focus on this this journey in which the authority of Christ as God revealed. Especially as God is being revealed through the Gospel of John. You see

“To claim that God was uniquely present in Jesus is certainly important, since it is integral to the high Christology of the Johannine community. {92} … God’s presence within this group as followers of Jesus is central as well. This theme of the ongoing divine presence within the community is prominent in the Fourth Gospel’s “Farewell Discourses” (e.g. 14:16-27; 15:26; 16:7). The Johannine community does not simply worship a “once-for-all” entry of God into human history: it sees itself as the dwelling-place of God in the present context.”[11]

This is the same presence we honor in each other and the Christian community today.  It is a call to remember we are the body of Christ. Not this building, not only when we gather for an hour on Sunday but we are called as the Body of Christ.

As 1 Corinthians reminds us  …from the message;

 “12-13 You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of Christs’ one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which Christ has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of Jesus’ resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—God’s Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.

14-18 I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where God wanted it.”

St. Theresa reminds us;

Theresa of Avila (1515–1582)

Christ Has No Body

Christ has no body but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

Yours are the eyes with which he looks

Compassion on this world,

Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,

Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,

Yours are the eyes, you are his body.

Christ has no body now but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

Yours are the eyes with which he looks

compassion on this world.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

So now I have an odd question…









[8] ibid

[9] ibid



Ever feel like a Frog?

Frogs feel slow, ... low, ... ugly, ... puffy, ... drooped, pooped.

I know! ...... One told me.

The Frog feeling comes when:

You want to be bright... but you feel dull.

You want to share...but you are selfish.

You want to be thankful...but you are resentful.

You want to be big...but you are small.

You want to care...but you are indifferent.

Surely, ... at one time or another, ... each of us has found ourselves ... siting or laying ... on a lily pad.

Just Floating down ... the great river of life.

Frightened and disgusted ... but too darn Froggish to budge.

You all know the story…

Once upon a time there was a Frog.

But he wasn't really a Frog.

He was a Prince that looked like a Frog.

A wicked Witch ... had cast a spell on him ... and only the kiss of a beautiful young maiden ... could save him.

But since when ... do pretty Girls ... kiss Frogs?  Of course I wonder what if girls weren’t his orientation what a cruel trick that truly would have been.

So, there he sat ... an un-kissed Prince ... in Frog form.

Ah, but miracles happen.

One day a beautiful maiden grabbed him... and gave him a big smack.

Crash, Boom, Zap!

He became.... what he always was, a handsome Prince.

You know the rest.

They lived happily ever after. (Pause)

Congregation, ... there is a spiritual truth ... that lies within this story.

And the spiritual truth is this .... we are each called to be ... frog kissers.

We each ... are called ... to kiss those ... who God places in our lives, sometimes it’s easy to see the prince hidden within and other times well… it requires a leap of faith.

Robert and I... thank you ... for the multitude of kisses ... that you have given us during our time with you all.

Borrowing a little bit ... from the apostle Paul I share this truth:

I thank my God ... upon every remembrance of you; ... whenever I pray for you, ... my prayers are always joyful. (Philippians 1:3-5)

It is only natural ... that we should feel like this about you, ... because we do have great love for you.

You have made us a part of your family ... and you each lie ... within our heart's.

We thank God ... upon every remembrance. (Philippians 1:3)

I truly loved preparing ... and sharing the Message ...for the Sunday Worship. I really enjoyed sharing some unique versions of hymns that the covid experience has allowed us. This congregation has persevered through one of the toughest times in human history and it shall continue to do so.

Beyond your welcome ... I thank you ... for allowing me be me.

Often times ... it is difficult ... to find a place ...where you can be yourself.

Where people love you ... for who you are.

You have done that.

And I am sure ... that you will share that same love ... with those who come to serve and worship with you in the future.

You have been gracious.

You have seen my shortcomings ... and loved me anyway.

I hope I have been able to return that love ... and that joy ... to each of you.

Your friendship and your love ... has impacted our lives deeply... you each have left a mark on our hearts.

And so I want to share this hymn which I have written permission to use for this worship service.

Frog Kissin'

Ray Stevens, Chet Atkins


Do you remember in the fairy tale?

How the wicked witches spell changed the handsome prince to a toad

Thru the power of her potion she handed him the notion

That he was lower than the dirt in the road

And thou she left him green and warted her evil plan was thwarted

When there chanced to happen by a young miss

Who in spite of his complexion offered her affection

And broke the wicked curse with her kiss

Well if you’ve never been a frog kissin’

Then you don? t know what you’ve been missing

There’s a world of opportunity under each and every log

If you’ve never been a charm breaker

And if you’ve never been a handsome prince maker

Just a slow down turn around bend down

And kiss you a frog

Once upon a time ago

I was down and feelin’ low

Like a lonely frog in a pond

Life was just a joke

And I was very near a crokin’

I was zapped by life? s wicked wand

Then in the depth? s of my depression

There came a true expression

From a love from a lady so sweet

She gave warm fuzzy feelings

Feeling’s that where healing

And knocked me of my little web feet

Well if you’ve never been a frog kissin’

Then you don? t know what you’ve been missing

There’s a world of opportunity under each and every log

If you’ve never been a charm breaker

And if you’ve never been a handsome prince maker

Just a slow down turn around bend down

And kiss you a frog

There’s a happy ever after land

Even in the heart of man

Where a prince or princess abide

But all we get are glimpses

Of the handsome prince or princess

Cause there covered by a green warty hide

And thou there full of life? s potential

There lackin’ one essential

To enable them to shine like a star

And that? s to have some guy or misses

Smother them with kisses

And love them while there just like they are

And that? s the secret of frog kissin’

And you can do it to

If you just listen

Just slow down turn around bend down

And kiss you a frog


Ribit ribit 

A call to prayer

This is a time of sharing.

A time of lifting, lifting up our hearts

In gratitude and supplication.

What joys do you have to share,

What blessings?

What needs weigh on your heart?

Bring them here in community that we may all lift them up to God.


Please write your joys and concerns in the comment section and I will lift them up after this hymn



Quiet Reflection: In Christ Alone 

Our Creator, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kin-dom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kin-dom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen


Invitation to the Offering

It is easy to offer our money and our gold, but God desires our hearts and our lives. Even as we offer our gifts in the offering plates this day, let us reflect on how we might give our hearts and lives, so that others may know the truth of God’s wisdom and love.

Donate Here!


Doxology #778

Offering Prayer


May the gifts we bring be gifts of love.

May the offerings we share be offerings of our hearts.

May each gift be blessed by your grace,

that others may know the truth of your wisdom

and your love. Amen.




Celebration of Holy Communion

(Please if you have not already prepared elements for communion do so. Remember that even an English muffin can become a sacrament, even a cup of water or tea can become a remembrance of God’s redeeming love)


For Holy Communion this morning,

I invite you to lend Christ your table.

We recall that once a long time ago Jesus gathered with his friends in a room. Men, woman, children, free and slave, Jewish, roman, tax collector and priest all gathered as friends to celebrate a feast.

We do not know all the conversations that were shared. We do not know the menu of the day. Yet by faith we proclaim these words.

The Communion words sent to the church at Corinth.

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,

that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed

took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks,

he broke it and said,

“This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying,

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.

Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,

you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Sharing of the Elements

Leader:    Let us in our many places receive the gift of God, the Bread of Heaven.

Unison:    We are one in Christ in the bread we share.

Leader:    Let us in our many places receive the gift of God, the Cup of Blessing.

Unison:    We are one in Christ in the cup we share.

Prayer of Thanksgiving


Let us pray in thanksgiving for this meal of grace,

rejoicing that, by the very method of our worship,

we have embodied the truth that Christ’s love

is not limited by buildings made with human hands,

nor contained in human ceremonies,

but blows as free as the Spirit in all places.


Spirit of Christ, you have blessed our tables and our lives.

May the eating of this Bread give us courage to speak faith and act love, not only in church sanctuaries, but in your precious world,

and may the drinking of this Cup renew our hope

even in the midst of pandemic.

Wrap your hopeful presence around all

whose bodies, spirits and hearts need healing,

and let us become your compassion and safe refuge. Amen

 The office is open for regular hours

We are accepting donations for the kidz cupboard and the food pantry


I am available for one on one virtual visits or phone calls if you need any prayer we will be together again one day, but until then remember you are the hands and the feet of our lord in this world and in this world of no physical contact we can still smile, wave, chat, check in


Where charity and love prevail #396


Where charity and love prevail 

there God is ever found;

Brought here together by Christ’s love,

 By love are we thus bound

With grateful joy and holy fear

 true charity we learn;

Let us with heart and mind and strength 

now love Christ in return.

Forgive we now each other’s faults 

as we our faults confess;

And let us love each other well 

in Christian holiness.

Let strife among us be unknown, 

let all contentions cease;

Be Christ the glory that we seek, 

be ours Christ’s holy peace.


Closing Prayer

Lord, we have listened to your word for us this day. We are grateful for the love of Jesus who takes our burdens and lightens our spirits. Be with us today as we leave our virtual space. May we continue to place our trust in you, for it is in the name of Jesus that we pray. AMEN.


Benediction/Sending Forth

Blessed by God’s wisdom,

go forth refreshed and renewed.

Called by Christ,

go now to serve.

Amazed by God’s love,

go now to love.