Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Salvation Cannot be Bought (Acts 8:17–22)

Daily Lenten Reflection - Sunday, 12 March 2017

Week 3: Salvation—Not for Sale

Week 3, Day 1

“An Anglican Baptismal Covenant” 

Celebrant Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers? 

People I will, with God’s help. 

Celebrant Will you persevere in resisting evil and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? 

People I will, with God’s help. 

Celebrant Will you proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ? People I will, with God’s help. 

Celebrant Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself? 

People I will, with God’s help. 

Celebrant Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? 

People I will, with God’s help. 

Celebrant Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth? 

People I will, with God’s help.

Salvation Cannot be Bought (Acts 8:17–22)

Mitzi J. Budde, Anglican, USA

Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this power so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God’s gift with money! You have no part or share in this, for your heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 

Salvation cannot be bought. Turning to God in love and awe, trust and hope, we experience for ourselves God’s boundless grace. When we put our occupations, our families, our finances, our health, indeed, our entire lives, into God’s hands and seek to put our wills in conformity with God’s, praying “your will be done,” then we are freed to serve our neighbors and led to give of our gifts in joyful response to God’s unmerited favor.

Martin Luther said in the “Large Catechism”: “Anything on which your heart relies and depends, I say, that is really your God.” This is the challenge to each one of us: where do I put my trust? So often we try to control God, to curry favor through our goodness, to impress God with our sanctity. But grace cannot be earned by our good behavior.

We receive everything we need as a free gift from God, day by day, just as the Israelites received manna each morning in the wilderness. In a 1938 confirmation sermon, Dietrich Bonhoeffer identified the manna with faith: “God gives us always just precisely so much faith as we need for the present day. […] So it is with all God’s gifts. So it is with faith too. Either we receive it anew every day, or it decays.”12 Jesus is the risen Savior who walks the Emmaus road of our lives beside us. He is also the one who goes before us to prepare a place for us, who is already in our future.

God chose us in baptism, nourishes us through communion with Christ, speaks to us through the Scriptures, daily provides us with the grace that we need to live in the community of faith and sustains us through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit provides power to face each day, presence in time of need and peace in the face of the world’s turmoil. Salvation cannot be bought; it has already been freely given through the priceless gift of Christ’s death and resurrection.

“On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee has compiled a collection of Lenten reflections to commemorate the anniversary. The text can be used by small groups or individual, as a Lenten reading or as a resource for the weeks between Easter and Trinity Sunday. We are sharing these reflections daily during Lent, hoping that our common experience of God’s grace may draw our two families of churches closer together in this extraordinary year, and be used beyond 2017 and actually at any time.”