Friday, February 24, 2017

Going Up

High Rock, Washington County, Maryland

Have you taken a break lately? When was the last time you intentionally stepped out of the rush and momentum of everyday life for even a few hours? If you are like most people, you have been in perpetual motion for too long. Even if your lifestyle is characterized as sedentary, you can still find yourself marking time in a largely routinized manner. While routine can be a good source of comfort, it can also foster spiritual sloth. Ouch! Yes, I do mean to prod a bit and encourage you to consider taking heed of the invitation to be intentional, proactive, and responsive to our call to retreat from the daily grind. It's for your own good.

It just so happens that this coming Sunday is the observance of the Transfiguration of our Lord.  Just days before we enter into the discipline of Lent, we hear the account from the gospel of Matthew of Jesus taking a break to go up a high mountain.  He's not alone.
Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves.  (Matthew 17:1)
Mosaic in Church on Spilled Blood, 
St Petersburg, Russia, 19th century

What happens while they were there is dramatic, clarifying, and inspiring. Take some time to read the passage for yourself as you anticipate our gathering on Sunday (Matthew 17:1-9).
Maybe your inclination is to stay there, up on the high mountain. Who could blame you? It is no wonder why Peter wanted to preserve the moment and set up camp. Ultimately, however, we learn that they came down from the mountain. We do too. But then that going down, going back, the re-entry into the ordinary is a choice, a decision, an act of discipleship because we are following Jesus. We are following with a renewed sense of purpose, identity, and mission.

Have you taken a break lately? When was the last time you intentionally stepped out of the rush and momentum of everyday life for even a few hours?

Next Saturday morning, March 4, from 8:30 - noon, come away for awhile. Avail yourself of the gift of retreat. Sister Thelma and Sister Jo Ann of the Tau Hermitage will be our guests as they lead our Lenten retreat. These retreats have been a rich source of blessing and spiritual strength for those who have participated in the past. I encourage you to attend this time. You won't be disappointed. All I ask is that you let me know if you are coming so we can have enough materials prepared ahead of time.

Meanwhile, this coming week merits your attention and intentional participation. Ash Wednesday will provide the chance to gather to be encouraged for the beginning of our Lenten observance. The Ash Wednesday Liturgy will take place at 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM. I'm planning to be at the new Starbucks on Norland Avenue for Ashes on the Go and conversation from 1:00 to 3:00 PM as well.

The Transfiguration of Christ:, Middle of the 12th century. 
Part of an iconostasis: Saint Catherine's Monastery, Sinai (Egypt)