Last week I had a bit of surgery. I was an outpatient and in the days following have been impatient with myself and the healing process. The surgical site was on my back, way south. Sitting has been difficult. So has writing, and typing -- since these activities are best conducted while being vertical. So, this week's post is something that I just shared in the monthly newsletter as well. I'm trying to be efficient.
It has been a rather interesting time to note the many and various ways that we, as a society, tend to dwell on the ridiculous at the expense of the sublime. From the political ramifications of the over-preparedness of northeastern state governors in the face of an “historic blizzard” to the air pressure of footballs, we allow ourselves to gravitate toward the meaningless.
One could lament the retreat from our search for meaning and be disparaged with so many weapons of mass-distraction in our culture. Our faith calls us to not lose hope, but to seek first the Kingdom of God. Each week we rehearse and enact that posture of attentiveness to first things. Lift up your hearts! Let us give thanks to the Lord our God!
Without this regular rehearsal and activity, our spiritual vitality wanes. So, the antidote to such
confusion may well be first: confession. When we pray thy kingdom come, thy will be done, we get to be prepared to participate in the follow-through on the part of our heavenly Father.
In just a couple weeks, we will begin the season of Lent. Look forward to it not so much as a burden to bear, but as a gift to receive. The season calls us to enter into the wilderness of our lives and face those things that distract us from our relationship with God and our co-laborers with Christ. We can be empowered to name them and set them aside in acts of prayer and repentance. The discipline of Lent can be a liberating and life-giving practice for individuals and whole communities. I invite us all to embrace this time together courageously and with hope.
The first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, is February 18th. There will be services a the church at both 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM that day. Come and receive ashes in the shape of the cross as an outward sign of your mortality and as a tactile reminder of your baptismal identity, an identity that death cannot undo. Following the morning service, I’ll be camping out at the Starbucks Coffee Shop at Target offering ashes to any interested inquirer. Let your friends, family, and colleagues know that anyone is welcome. If you want to stop by for coffee and conversation, that is fine as well. I plan to be there until about 3:00
In the meantime, take this opportunity to revisit the information in last week's post (Crucified Love) about the Lenten Retreat to be held on Saturday, March 21st. There will also be a 2015 Lenten Brochure available at the church and online at our website (I hope) in the days ahead. Use these as tools for inviting others to come and see.
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Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
February 1, 2015
Prayer of the Day
Compassionate God, you gather the whole universe
into your radiant presence
and continually reveal your Son as our Savior.
Bring wholeness to all that is broken
and speak truth to us in our confusion,
that all will see and know your Son,
Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
1 Corinthians 8:1-13