wilderness: “Repent, prepare the way of the Lord.” There is a sense the kingdom of God is near, and we need to get ready. We have six weeks to do it in our church calendar. A popular tool to help folks prepare are Lenten reflections. For each of the six weeks of Lent this year Farnham and St. John’s parishioners will share a reflection shaped around one of the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes (The Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew or the Sermon on the Plain in the Gospel of Luke) are uneasy reminders that the Gospel Good News is so often counter-cultural, counter-intuitive and quite provocative. The Beatitude “Blessings” mess with our minds and challenge our hearts to consider just how we Christians are trying to “walk the walk” not just “talk the talk.” May you be blessed this Lenten season by the Beatitude shaped reflections of those who sit in the pews with you and who offer food for Lenten thought for all of us. This Lent “taste and see” that the Lord is active among and within us, stirring up reflection and action about what it looks like to savor His teachings, then follow Him on the Way.
Lenten Reflection I
Blessed are the Hungry
by Michael Sisson (Farnham)
"Hungry. . . although well fed!!"
In our society today we rarely see people who are on a street corner begging for food or clumsily combing through a dumpster, but despite that fact, people we see every day, right under our noses, are starving for something that cannot be put on a plate. We all have ways to feed our own individual cravings and forms of hunger, but as Christians, I’m sure we each see much of society as being hungry for unsatisfying “food.” Unfortunately, it is a hunger that can never be completely fulfilling. I see this on a daily basis with adults and our fragile youth. A yearning to fulfill a shallow desire, not being able to see the forest for the trees and missing the “food” that is right in front of them. Jealousy and envy of what is on someone else’s plate.
Our stomachs are full and content, with no concern of where the next meal is going to come from, but in our world today, there are many hearts and minds that are starving. Hungry and trying to fend off the hunger pangs with all of the wrong stuff.
I personally love to eat, those that know me realize this. But I am always hungry for and craving: evening story time with my daughter; a sunrise that is beyond the beauty of what anyone could put on a canvas; the first songs of the migrating Canada geese on a cool, north west breeze in mid-October; candles in the windows of North Farnham Church at twilight on Christmas eve; the gentle rocking of the boat and the lapping of the waves on the hull of our boat on a hot summer afternoon in the River.
I’ve been fed with events in my life such as holiday gatherings with my grandparents during my childhood, memories of those that have passed on who I’d see every Sunday morning at Menokin Baptist Church, precious time with my Dad in the big woods during spring gobbler season, cool October evenings on Nomini Creek casting homemade top water plugs for stripers, freezing cold mornings in the still, deafening silent marsh waiting for ducks to appear over the decoys.
Everyone has their own personal forms of “nourishment” both for their stomachs and their souls. Let us all reflect on those things that feed us on a daily basis and try and assist and direct those around us that are hungry and looking for that sustaining and everlasting happiness.
Michael A. Sisson