Sunday, March 08 2020
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from thy ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of thy Word, Jesus Christ thy Son; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen (Collect for Lent II).
I know that there are a lot of people today that believe in God, but just can’t wrap their faith around the miracles, the resurrection, and that Jesus was the Son of God. This is probably the fastest growing religion in America right now. Loving God and your neighbor is the formula that Jesus recommended for all of us and I think that we would all agree to the two great commandments. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Again, it is easy for us to believe in a historical figure and we all want to go to some happy place after we die. But the unchangeable truth of thy Word is a little deeper than that. God is present in the water of our Baptism, in the bread and wine at the Eucharist, and in the Holy Spirit in the world. I believe that God claims us at our Baptism and anoints us with the Holy Spirit as a member of the Christian Church and that we are empowered with gifts that we will use to be the person that God calls us to be. Life is a spiritual journey and we are taking it together at St. John’s. Join us on Tuesday night for Journey to Freedom and Saturday, March 14th for our Lenten Retreat, “Journey with the Ammas: Words and Wisdom from the Desert” with Leslie Valentine.
We celebrate the Eucharist by remembering the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The prayer of remembrance is called the Anamnesis. This Greek word for remembrance comes from one who has lost their amnesia. Those who have lost their identity or purpose need to re-member the mighty acts that God has done for them and to know to whom they belong. I urge you to call your friends and family who have wandered from the church and invite them to re-member that Jesus Christ is Lord. It takes steadfast faith to proclaim Jesus Christ as the one who died on a cross for our sins and rose from the dead to prove to us that we will have eternal life. This is the unchangeable truth that we must not only believe, but the truth that we must tell to the next generation. If we are falling into the group that feels that Jesus was a great human being and that he taught a wonderful pattern for us to follow then the future of our church is bleak.
One of the youth in our confirmation class asked me if the miracles in the bible were real. I told her that they are still real today and gave her several examples of miracles that I have witnessed to the power of God. The Holy Spirit is plain to see in the hearts of those who minister here and in the ministry that we do. We live in scary times with the coronavirus, the changing weather patterns, and the hostility that we have for one another. Re-member the marvelous things that God has done, open your eyes to what God is doing now, believe in the unchangeable truth of Jesus Christ, join us this Lent on a spiritual journey that will deepen your relationship with God, and help bring the next generation at St. John’s to Christ as our good folks have been doing for 275 years.
In Christ’s love,