Trust that everyone made it safely through this week's sleet, snow and cold! Current forecasts seem to be divided as to what this evening and night hold for us.
For me, sermon preparation usually requires more cutting than adding; in an effort to have some semblance of a focus, I more typically find myself cutting out, rather than adding in. Such was certainly the case last week when discussing the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus.(John 3:1-17) Some helpful lines from T.S. Eliot did not make it into the sermon; nonetheless, I still think they may describe Nicodemus' experience of Jesus, as well as yours, mine and Eliot's. With Nicodemus, we experience the divine and human realms fully present in Jesus. In the movement of his Four Quartets, called, "The Dry Salvages," Eliot wrote:
Here the impossible union
Of spheres of existence is actual,
Here the past and future
Are conquered, and reconciled, ...
Yet, like Nicodemus, we may not have revelations that lead to certainty. Some of us, most of us(?), may not hear a heavenly voice saying, "This is my Son," or see blinding light. Instead what we perceive,
... are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
Nonetheless, as we continue our Lenten journey of prayer, observance, thought and action, what we discover is:
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood,
While reading on-line, I try to avoid clicking on suggested links, especially when I don't know the trustworthiness of the link. Nonetheless, I was glad this week when I did follow a link to a particularly helpful article in the Washington Post, from a year ago. In this coming Sunday's Gospel (John 4:5-42), we find Jesus hungry and thirsty. Fr. James Martin, S.J. -- a popular Jesuit commentator -- wrote that these episodes reveal Jesus' full humanity. And they encourage us to take seriously the hunger and thirst of others. The article is titled, "Jesus had a body. Here's why that matters for Lent." You can find it here.
Weather permitting, our Lenten Soup Suppers, and the paired Rectory Forum, will resume this week, and we will return to the familiar, and yet fantastical, world of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wind in the Door. If you have a copy, please bring it with you. It took Powells.com a week to pull together my order of nine used copies; they're due to arrive on Tuesday. In the meantime, the text is available; so please feel free to join the reading and conversation. See the calendar to the left for times and places. No reservations or homework required!
In this week's reflection on "Our Holy Land," the Rev. NIcholas Porter talks about his transformational experience in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and how that experience inspires him to direct the reconciling ministry of "Jerusalem Peacebuilders." The urgency of this work is underscored by their motto: "Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world." You can find Nicholas' reflection here.
If you've been following Lent Madness this week, you learned about "devout Episcopalian" Amelia Bloomer's connection to the women's undergarments called "bloomers." She did not invent them, but published a newspaper that covered this innovation. She also had to correct male clergy who quoted scripture to demean women's fashion. Just two of the insights about this week's competitors for the "Golden Halo." Copies of the "Definitive Guide" are still available for $2 each. To participate on-line go to www.lentmadness.org.
In faith and hope,
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!