Sermon for Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Wednesday in the First Week of Lent
In this evening’s gospel lesson Jesus – using unusual phrases such as “the sign of Jonah” and the “Queen of the South” and the “people of Nineveh” – makes the point to his listeners that “this… is an evil generation.” Why Jesus would say that “this… is an evil generation?” It would be much easier for us to hear words from Jesus about mercy or forgiveness or love. But in this evening’s Gospel lesson, Jesus is quite clear that “this… is an evil generation.”
To better understand why Jesus might say that “this… is an evil generation,” it may help to recall that everything in Scripture is written for our benefit, to let us know how much God loves us. One of the loving things God does is to prick our conscience. When we have done something wrong, God tries to let us know that we are choosing our own will and not God’s. Today’s gospel lesson is one of the Scripture’s attempts – God’s attempts – to prick our conscience, to encourage us to search inside and uncover all that may be weak or distorted and in need of healing. While it may not feel good to think of ourselves as sinners, “sin” can be a very helpful concept, holding up for us the possibility of deeper relationship with God and each other. The more we are able to uncover the “sinfulness” inside of us, the more we are able to let God in to heal, to comfort and to love.
Though the message of this evening’s Gospel lesson may be hard to hear – that “this… is an evil generation,” that we are all sinners – these words are in the Scriptures because they are ultimately for our good. These words can help us see and know how much God loves us, how much God yearns to be with us, and how much God wants us working alongside him, helping to reconcile this world to God’s self.