Dear Friends in Christ,
Rick and I have been away for three weeks in Florida and just returned to winter here in New England. We have been home about 5 days and I am still unpacking the car. When we set out I had a real plan for everything, at least that is what I thought. It turns out that we took way too much stuff with us. I was trying to plan for every weather contingency from here to Florida and back, from snow – to the beach, and all the things that we could possibly need in life from sun screen to boots. The car was full to start with and of course I got a few little things to bring back to family, so the result is we started with way too much and ended with even more than way too much!
All of this has had me thinking about Jesus’ years in ministry and then our Lenten journey. It seems that Jesus probably spent about 3 years of his life traveling from a base in Capernaum on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, to areas north into Sameria, and South to Jerusalem. A total area of a few hundred miles, on foot carrying the essentials for life and ministry. What we know about these 3 years is captured in four Gospels in a couple hundred pages. When he stopped at a village he would go to the village synagogue to both teach and worship and then he would stay in homes of friends and acquaintances. He did not have a suit case packed to the brim, or a Trip Tik from AAA.
Our world has changed, so much even in the last fifty years. If we put aside the social and cultural differences and just try to see the journey Jesus made in his life and the journeys we make in our lives as having great truths for us to gather into our hearts, there are many things I can learn and reflect upon during Lent. The Gospels tell us that as Jesus traveled, he found times of acceptance and laughter, and also times of rejection and stress. We know that the men who traveled with Jesus struggled to understand who he was and what his ministry meant, as their journeys unfolded. What I know about Lent is that sometimes I try to bring too much with me as I journey to Easter. Like the car I packed with more stuff than I will ever use, I am often trying to pack Lent to the brim. Why not make this Lenten journey lighter? Why not let the days unfold in God’s time, with the companionship of Christ, attentive to the moments that will teach me something and give me an opportunity to reflect with God. Why not make Sunday worship and the daily living of my life merge into one journey with Christ toward the wonderful truths of Easter and God’s love. What is essential for Lent? I guess a little time and an open and receptive heart and mind. On Sundays in March following worship from 11:30 til about 12:45, you are invited to join a video study by Adam Hamilton called “The Way.” We will reflect on the journey Jesus made toward Jerusalem and what essentials he took with him on the journey.
I look forward to seeing you as winter is pushed back and Easter fills our horizon.
Blessings to All