Sunday, March 03 2019
“O God who before the passion of your Son reveled his glory on the Holy Mount, that we may we be strengthened to bear his cross” (Last Sunday after the Epiphany Collect). “Christian discipleship consists of the discipline of self-denial and taking up the cross daily. It is refraining from the narcissistic self-indulgence and from feeding the superficial false ego to self-destruction. It is rather embracing my true self, the true image of God reflected in the depth of my soul. It’s a daily journey of self-discovery as a child of God and a daily walk toward a spiritual union with God” (Bishop Shin).
A bartender notices that every evening, without fail, one of his patrons orders three beers. After several weeks of noticing this pattern, the bartender asks the man why he always orders three beers. The man says, “I have two brothers who have moved away to different countries. We promised each other that we would always order an extra two beers whenever we drank as a way of keeping up the family bond.” Several weeks later, noticing that the man only ordered two beers, the bartender said, “Please accept my condolences on the death of one of your brothers. You know, the two beers and all…” The man replied, “You’ll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well… It’s just that I, myself, have decided to give up my beer for Lent.”
All Christians are invited "to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word" (BCP, p. 265). Somehow Lent has gone out of favor. Many Christians just don’t seem to understand why we do what we do in Lent. Do we need to go to service on Ash Wednesday? Will giving up chocolate or alcohol for a few weeks bring you closer to God? Will eating fish on Fridays help to draw you closer to Jesus Christ? Will getting off Twitter and Facebook bring on the Holy Spirit? I don’t have the answer for you, but I do know that many of us misunderstand the whole point of Lent. Lent is a time to strengthen your spiritual union with God. Through fasting, prayer, worship, scripture study, and acts of mercy, you make a conscious effort to draw closer to God. Jesus went into the desert for forty days to pray before beginning his ministry. The point is to refocus your attention on God so that the fire of God’s love in your heart may be strengthened for the ministry ahead. Please don’t cut back from three beers to two just because it’s Lent. Just find a way to do more of the things that bring you closer to God. Sometimes just going for a walk can be a time for union with God.
We offer many opportunities at St. John’s to rekindle that fire of God’s love at St. John’s. We offer Morning Prayer at 9:00 am M-F, bible study on Tuesdays at 11:00 am. On Tuesday nights we offer Stations of the Cross, Evening Prayer, Lenten Supper and a guest speaker. You may choose a Lenten Retreat with Leslie Valentine on Saturday March 23rd, serving in our Thrift Shop, serving meals to the homeless at HIHI, joining our choir to sing at Easter, and/or Holy Eucharist at 8:00 am and 10:00 am on Sundays. I invite you to the observance of a Holy Lent. Please take time from your busy schedule to draw nearer to the one that loves you so deeply. He sent his only Son to reveal his glory on the Holy Mount and to die on a cross for our sins.
In Christ’s love,