March 22, 2019
The gospel for Sunday is about a gardener and a fig tree. The tree has not produced fruit and looks to be dying, yet the gardener holds hope for this tree. While the landlord is ready to cut it down, the gardener requests another season to nurture the tree back to producing fruit.
The passage invites us to wonder, “What are we not giving up on in life right now?”
Maybe by now your Lenten journey has become a challenge for you. All your best intentions to add prayer, read a spiritual book, or deprive yourself of something have failed.
Lent is a more about our facing our unwieldy appetites and temptations rather than conquering them. Lent invites us to face the broken world in which we live. So the success of Lent lies in our facing all that is not perfect in ourselves, others and our world, while still remaining committed to God’s hope.
The Spiritual life is one of becoming who you already are. God’s love is fully given and transforming us at the same time. You can work with this transformation or fight it, you can face your challenges or put them off.
The two psychologists that I interviewed both confirmed, that seeking therapy is a process many do not choose. In fact, the people who do enter therapy do so because they have come to feel that they can’t put ‘it’ off any longer. The ‘it’ turns out to be letting go of regret or resentment, dealing with the after effects of abuse or mourning a loss.
Forgiveness is central to our growth. We might be tempted to give up on ourselves. We might decide that forgiveness is too difficult. But take heart, God is with you all the way, not giving up.
The classic Trinitarian formula is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit or, we can say our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. God is with you in all of these ways. While you might get frustrated with yourself and wonder if you will change or feel better or figure out what you need to do or have what you need to face your struggles, God is supporting your growth.
Turn to God, ask for help and receive the gifts freely offered. The idea is to not just survive, but to flourish and flower in an abundant life.

With you on the journey,
I will be away during the next week including two Sundays. First the family will be enjoying a holiday in the Appalachian Mountains of Maryland and then I will be away for a Board of Directors retreat with the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation.

The Rev. Victor Conrado from the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago will be with you Sunday, March 24th.
Coming up at St. James the Less

Sunday, March 24
8:00 a.m. | Holy Eucharist with Traditional Language
9:15 a.m | Thirty Worthy Minutes
10:00 a.m. | Holy Eucharist with Contemporary Language
10:00 a.m. | Godly Play
11:00 a.m. | Sweet Treats & Fellowship
11:00 a.m. | Children's Choir Rehearsal
6:30 p.m. | North Shore Meditation

Don't forget to bring clothing items to donate to the residents of The Grove Nursing Center. The bins are set up in the Parish Hall as a reminder.