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Weekly worship: third Sunday of Lent, 24 March

Fisherman Lope holds a starfish
Focus passages
  • Isaiah 55:1-9
  • Psalm 63:1-8

‘Lent is a time for making decisions about God’s good news and our life in the world.’ Walter Brueggemann

Now deep in the wilderness of Lent the opening words of Isaiah 55 and Psalm 63 strike a particular chord of longing.

‘Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters.’

‘O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.’

Few of us reading these words will know what it is to really thirst. But having just remembered UN World Water Day on 22 March, these verses call to mind the unacceptable reality that too many across the world are still thirsting for a clean, available supply of fresh water. The most essential and elemental of human needs.

And for those of us observing Lent these words take on a spiritual significance. By choosing to strip back the distractions that usually feed our appetites and quench our thirst we find here an invitation to refuse to settle for that which does not satisfy. To avoid the temptation to satiate our longings with substitute, quick-fix solutions which do not nourish or energise our lives.

Go deeper

In Lent we are encouraged to go deep into the wilderness so we may ‘seek the Lord while he may be found, to call upon him while he is near’ (Isaiah 55:6). And in so doing, we might discover the steadfast love of God ‘that is better than life’ so that our ‘souls [are] satisfied as with a rich feast’.

This is a message that’s profoundly needed in this current age of consumerism. Not only because it’s leaving us unsatisfied and undernourished, but also because this constant need for more has perpetuated the climate change that’s adversely affecting communities across the world – those who have done the least to cause the problem.

This Lent we are invited to be counter-cultural, and to be liberated from the more that is never enough.


Watch this video and follow the Big Shift Prayer.

Points for prayer
  • Pray for the end of present-day slavery and human trafficking, as we mark the UN International Day of Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade (25 March).
  • Pray for Lope and Leonardo and all who patrol the seas in the Philippines to protect fish stocks from illegal fishing. Find out more and follow the Count Your Blessings journey
  • Give thanks for our emergency churches – those churches who have signed up to receive collection envelopes and prayer points in the immediate aftermath of an emergency. Pray that more churches would come onboard

Published on 20 March 2019

Resource language
  • N/A
Themes – Areas of work
  • Theology