As a kid, my favorite adventures took place in my grandma's yard in eastern NC. She lives on the Neuse River, where it opens up and looks almost as big as the ocean. The distinctive feature of her yard, in addition to the gorgeous azaleas, is "the cut," a big area of land that was dredged out years ago so that a couple of docks could be built there. Most of the boats in the cut belonged to the extended family, so no one ever cared if we ran around on them and used them as diving boards. We put a tire swing in a little boat house for a while. There were always dinghies and rafts lying around that we could play on.
The cut was an amazing place to play, and yet, it was not without its quirks. There were years when, during the warmer months, jellyfish were everywhere. Sometimes we'd even swim in long johns so we could play without getting stung. We had to watch for snakes, too, although we didn't see them as often, thank goodness.
The trickiest thing about the cut was that the bottom was complete mush. It wasn't that deep, but you couldn't walk in it without sinking to your knees in mud. Playing out there, we always needed something to hold onto - a place to rest when you got tired, or a hand hold on the side of a boat to get you up and out of there.
There was no solid ground.
So often, life is like that. It can be amazing and fun and full of adventure, but it's not without its quirks. When we get tired or overwhelmed, it can be hard to find solid ground. We need a hand hold, a place to rest, something we can float on for a while as we get our bearings again.
This year, during the season of Lent, our theme is "Jesus is a Rock in a Weary Land." Our Wednesday evening worship services will explore this theme, which comes from an old spiritual. We'll hear from a different community member each week about how Jesus has been their rock during challenging times.
This season, we are invited to "return to the Lord." We are invited to remember that Jesus provides us with solid ground in the midst of life that is often stressful and chaotic. When we are weary or overwhelmed, we have a hand hold. We have a raft. We have our rock.
This season, join us on solid ground. Return to the Lord. Come and see Jesus, our rock in a weary land.
Peace be with you,