Third Sunday of Lent: Staying Focused

By Bonnie Higgins

Greco, 1541?-1614. Christ Expelling the Money Changers in the Temple, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48047 [retrieved January 28, 2015]. Original source: www.yorckproject.de.

Greco, 1541?-1614. Christ Expelling the Money Changers in the Temple, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48047 [retrieved January 28, 2015]. Original source: http://www.yorckproject.de.

As we come to the third week of Lent, we are reminded that Lent is a time to focus on our relationship with God. It is a time to cleanse and enrich our bodies for the goodness that God has prepared us for.

One way is through prayer. In John 2:13-22 we read the story in which Jesus went to the temple courts to worship and found merchants selling cattle, sheep and doves, sold to be used as ritual sacrifices in the temple, while others were sitting at tables exchanging money. The merchants were profiting from those who were coming to worship. Jesus grew very angry and, by flipping their tables over and telling them to leave, cleared the temple of all of these merchants and money changers. In the version of the same story that we find in Matthew 21:13, Jesus says, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer.’” Jesus was upset to find the merchants exploiting the needs of the people who were coming to worship in his house of prayer.

How many times have we gone to church and not focused on why we are there? We need to remember that we go to church freely to worship and praise our risen Savior. It’s not just a social hour: We should be going to church to praise and worship God. When we enter the church building, we need to focus on our relationship with God and to focus on God’s Word. As we sit in our pews, we should all be in prayer to have God open our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our hearts to feel. We are there to see, hear, and feel God within us, to have that relationship that only God can provide. We hear God speaking to us in the quiet time of reflection; We pray to give thanks, to praise, and to speak the desires of our hearts to God. We can’t hear what God is telling us if we are consumed with other things on our minds.

To focus more completely on God, find a place that is quiet: maybe your closet at home or your bedroom—anywhere that you can stop and focus on talking to God one-on-one with no interruptions. Prayer is our communication with God; God wants to hear from us daily. During this season, if you don’t already have a time set apart for prayer, find the time in your schedule to pray. Most of us find the time to make sure we exercise, work, time to go out with friends, and so forth, but we don’t necessarily have in our schedules a time for one-on-one time with God. Lent is a time for us to sacrifice something in our lives for God: let it be the sacrifice of time from our lives to be in contact with God, and may we continue in this intentional communication after Lent is over.

As we go through this season of Lent, we need to remember the sacrifice that God made for each of us, God sent Jesus Christ to die for us. We need to be in prayer to praise and thank God for remembering us on the cross.

This post is part of a Lenten series. To read other posts in the series, click on the word “Lent” in the list on the right, under “Find Posts About….”

Bonnie HigginsBonnie Higgins serves as coordinator of the Eastern Section on the national board of American Baptist Women’s Ministries, and leads the Public Relations team. A member of Sidney Second Baptist Church, Sidney, Maine, Bonnie particularly enjoys volunteering in her region’s camping ministries. Bonnie is mother of three children and grandmother to two.

 

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One thought on “Third Sunday of Lent: Staying Focused

  1. Yes, Bonnie, church can become a social event if we don’t prepare ourselves and remember that all parts of worship should lead us closer to God. I do have a quiet place and enjoy that communion time with God.

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