X Marks the Spot
This coming Sunday is the first Sunday of Lent and our Scripture readings give us a view of baptism framed around the story of the Great Flood and Noah’s Ark.
Floods destroy old worlds and leave new ones behind. They rearrange the landscape, move and remove familiar landmarks and leave us bewildered and uncertain of where we are. We’ve had a kind of flooding recently in the form of these frigid temperatures, ice and snow. In a more metaphorical sense this past year certainly has been one flooded with change, uncertainty and confusion. We have become well acquainted with the overwhelming and disruptive power represented by floods.
Like floods, baptism into the life of Jesus has a tendency to rearrange our world. Old loyalties, long held views and habits that have clung to us (or to which we have clung) all get washed away in the deluge. The world as we knew it changes for good. And while that can feel catastrophic sometimes it also brings with it the promise of a new beginning.
Starting over can be hard. Learning to settle in a new reality can be scary and confusing. Old worlds aren’t perfect but at least we knew our way around. Most of us are not well trained to live in the new realm of love, peace and joy that God wants to give us. Lent is a time to explore and adopt new disciplines for living in a new world. Fasting, giving and praying are such disciplines, but how do we engage them? Let me suggest three possibilities open to us this Lent.
Rite of Reconciliation: It’s sometimes known as Confession but it’s about so much more than just going down a naughty list and receiving absolution. Reconciliation is an opportunity to reflect and recognize those places where we may still be clutching the debris of our old life and, by naming them, to embrace the wide open space that God has given us to build a new world. I would love to meet one-on-one with you, to listen and pray with you as God leads you in new paths in your life. If you are interested in finding a fresh start, call the church office and we’ll find a time that fits your schedule.
Outreach: We are always looking for new and fresh ways to be present in our community with the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Our Outreach Brainstorming Session is coming up Sunday, March 14th, immediately after the service. Join with us as we identify and participate in what God is doing in Stillwater.
The Daily Office: One of the treasures of our Anglican/Episcopal heritage is the pattern of Morning and Evening Prayer services that keep us regularly orienting ourselves to Jesus. There is no better way to begin tuning our hearts to know God’s presence with us than through these short daily practices. On Wednesdays in Lent, gather with us here at the church or online for Morning Prayer at 8 to 8:30 am and Evening Prayer at 5:30 to 6 pm.
Whether through these practices or others, I pray that the Lenten season will be a joy filled time of new insights and the renewal of fresh purpose in your life as cast away those things that weigh you down and hinder you from drawing closer to the Lord Jesus.
P.S. Those of you who gather for our in-person service this Sunday will notice that we had a little bit of flooding outside the building. A water main burst by the corner of the alley Thursday evening. Hardworking city crews have temporarily patched it but it’s still a bit of a mess out there (yes, it is a perfect illustration of what I said above about floods). Among other things, street parking near the building is now more limited so please be mindful of that.