Last night many of us worshiped together to mark Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. The smudge of ash on our foreheads reminds us that "from dust we are formed and to dust we will return." It reminds us of our mortality and our need for repentance. The cross shape of the smudge serves as a sign that we are followers of Christ and are called to walk in his way.
Last night we prayed as a congregation once again for a school shooting, this time in our own state. This mass murder of high school students also reminds us of our mortality and our need for repentance. As we consider the senseless gun violence in our country, as we consider the necessary care needed for those with mental health issues, as we consider the culture of violence that pervades the media, as we consider what it means to care for one another as a community and be accountable to one another, I pray that as Christians we will consider what it means to walk in the way of Christ.
The phrase "what would Jesus do" or WWJD often seems overused and trite. But I would encourage each of us to prayerfully consider "what would Jesus do" and what would Jesus have us do. We certainly have the tools and ability to be agents of peace in our everyday lives and to work for change in the public sphere. That will require us to become less entrenched in our political parties and our stances on social issues and more dedicated to "the transformation of the world" as we live into the mission of Trinity and the United Methodist Church "to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."
For the last several weeks we've focused on "The Strength to Love" and a couple of weeks ago as we looked at the call to non-violence, we gave each of you a copy of the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. May that prayer be our clarion call today and each day.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon,
Where there is doubt, faith;
What there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
I also invite you to join us in worship this Sunday as we begin a new series, "Deeply Rooted." We'll focus on the call to grow roots that "go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love" (from Ephesians 3:17-19a) and how that takes shape in our lives by looking at some of the most familiar and loved parables and sayings of Jesus in the Gospels. We'll also offer some simple tools for practices that will help us to experience that love for ourselves. Perhaps this year instead of giving up something for Lent, you'll consider practicing your faith in new ways so that you may become more "deeply rooted."
See you Sunday as we worship together!
Grace and Peace,