Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. -Matthew 4:1 Beloved Saints,
Here we are at the beginning of what some call the church’s darkest season. Lent has been described as a 40-day wilderness journey in which we are invited to engage in the serious spiritual practices of fasting, alms-giving and prayer. It is also a church season that so well matches the season we find when we step outside into the once again cold air and see the barrenness of the landscape; both inside and out these parallel seasons can easily be equated with emptiness, loneliness, and an aching or yearning of the soul. For some Lent is an invitation of disciplined purging if you will, a time to rid ourselves of all the things we have let get in the way of our relationship to and with God. And while I see and
experience the need for that discipline today I have another suggestion.
Instead of rejecting something that is keeping you from God, what about reclaiming something that brings you closer to God? Because while I can easily understand the purpose of disciplining oneself in a certain area of our lives to reap certain benefits, I still remain, at a certain level, a bit puzzled by our culture’s use of Lent as a season of spiritual improvement.
I fear that individually we have gone too far sometimes building up our self-esteem and personal egos to the point where any invitation into a time of deep reflection and self-examination is immediately conflated with self-loathing and deprecation. We have developed a very either/or mentality. “We either love ourselves or hate ourselves.” As if a spiritual “no-pain-no-gain” mantra will do the trick to yield
the right result in just 40 days! I think that is unfortunate. The penitential nature of this season calls us to stand before GOD, not a mirror.
Perhaps a more meaningful approach then to Lent this year could be to hear an invitation into a season of “deep spiritual awareness and connection”- a simple yet greater awareness of ourselves, and, in the end, a greater awareness of each other. We are living in divided and divisive times. We seem to have forgotten we are indeed each other’s keepers. The pain of racism, classism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of fear and oppression still ravage our country and our world. We with voices and resources are called to be companions and prophets as surely now as in days gone by. Perhaps I am not alone these days in my need to see ever more clearly how I am connected to you and you to me and all of us to the heart of a God who travels with us in the wilderness. May these 40 days be a journey we take together breaking down the walls that divide.
May you never forget that you are loved.
SUNDAY REMINDERS HOLY
EUCHARIST at 8:00AM & 10:00AM CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST FOR ALL @ 9:00AM EVERY SUNDAY
SUNDAY MORNING BOOK DISCUSSION The New Jim Crow from 9:00-9:50am NURSERY (infant-Pre-K) is open year-round 9:30-11:30am-located in room off the Sunday School hallway.
CHURCH SCHOOL is in session. School begins at 9:30 and children will join us for communion.
MIDDLE SCHOOL REMIX - today at 11:15 CHOIR PRACTICE today at 11:15
LENTEN OPPORTUNITIES SPECIAL LENTEN MUSIC In addition to the weekly gifts that the members of St. John’s and the Music Ministry so generously offer, we are pleased to welcome guest musicians to our sacred space during Lent. Come and See. Sunday Morning Book Discussion The New Jim Crow March 5—April 2 ~ 9:00-9:50am
Inquirer’s Class with Priest Lisa Wednesdays, March 8-29 ~ 7-8:30pm Sundays, March 12-April 2 ~ 5-6:00pm
Wednesday Program 9:00-10:30am Women's Bible Study 10:30-11:15am Mid-week Eucharist 6:00-6:30pm Evening Devotion, 6:30-7:00 Supper/Salad Supper 7:00-8:30 Multiple program options -Inquirer's Class -Prayer Stations -The Labyrinth -Acrylic Painting Classes Service Event- Gleaner Food Bank March 18 ~ 8:30am
CHILDREN AND YOUTH MUSIC OPPORTUNITY - Join the choir on Easter! We will be rehearsing on the following Sundays: March 12, March 26, and April 2 in the music room. Pre-K-5 at 9:35am and Middle School at 11:15am. Contact Liza with questions.
QUARTER TO FORTY SOCIAL EVENT Friday, March 10 @ 6:30pm at Karl’s Cabin. Join the group (25-40 yr olds-ish) as we gather for food and good times with friends – old and new! Karl’s Cabin
Priest Lisa & Kim will be hosting this month.