Posts

Are We There Yet?

We've reached that point in Lent where many of us want it to be over.  We want Holy Week.  We want Easter.  And, yes, we want chocolate or in my case, coffee.  But as with any journey to a specific destination, it takes so much time to get there, no ifs, ands, or buts.  We can be like the proverbial whiny child in the back seat of the car who incessantly asks "Are we there yet?" and as much as we hope for a surprising answer, we will be told "No."
Lent runs for six and one half weeks.  We should not rush it.  We need this time.  And if we're distracted by the news or events or own impatience, perhaps we need to redouble our Lenten disciplines.  Some wag on line has remarked that this is the Lentiest Lent yet.  Perhaps.  What I know is that this is the Lent we have.  Let us live into for all it's worth.  After all, we're nearing the conclusion.
Really.

Storms and Anchors

This is the last "regular" week of Lent.  Next Sunday will move into Holy Week, with all of its drama. But nothing feels "regular" or "normal" these days, our schedules are off killer, our daily routines are being reset.  Still, I would encourage us to focus not on the chaos that surrounds us, but on the anchors in our lives.  It is those moorings that help us to endure the storm.  And while the winds may howl and the rains fall, the tempest will someday be over.
We often forget that.  We often forget that we each have an anchor named Jesus.  This Lent, which is still not over, let's ask Jesus to forgive us for the times we may have forgotten him, and let's turn to him to help reinforce the patterns in our lives, the ones that help us to live.

Disoriented

As most of my readers know, I preach extemporaneously; this isn't ad-libbing and it isn't memorization.  Extemporaneous preaching involves so much more -- I know my text, I know what I want to say, and I do multiple run throughs, honing what I want to preach, adjusting my message, and stumbling across new insights before I stand up in the puplit on Sunday morning.  This preparation involves a lot of time and preparation, but I believe I'm able to make a better connection with the congregation.  One upshot of all this is that late Saturday afternoons and evenings are work time.  Sometimes, early Sunday morning, too, as I want to get things right.
Now all of that is on hiatus.  Due to doing ministry in these strange times, I need to write my sermon out, edit and re-edit, before it's done.  At first, I needed to do this so I would have something to email the congregation.  Now we're supplementing what we email with internet services.  And that creates i…

Tsunami

Late yesterday afternoon the governor of New Hampshire issued a stay-at-home order effective 11:59 tonight.  We here in the Granite State will be joining tens of millions of others and so many more around the world in what amounts to a lock down.  The excitement never stops these days, does it?
We've been living with this coronavirus for most of this year.  I recall sitting in a hospital ethics committee meeting in late January discussing what would be the right and prudent thing for our community's medical center to do.  This was a good bu pretty generic conversation.  The reported cases in mainland China at that point amounted to a few hundred.  The threat was real but barely visible.  We talked about the need for the hospital to be addressing this before the crisis broke.  Fortunately, they did.  But our local health care providers are still facing a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.  The tsunami is going to hit. 
All of this has me wondering.  Why do we not pre…

Following Up ...

You'll recall that yesterday I wrote about the irony tech mishap that got in the way of a phone call about using ... technology.  Well, today, I have more irony for you, but it's of the kind where everything works out in the end.
No sooner had I pressed the send button on my Wednesday reflection, the zoom call connected and got underway. Problem solved, perspective gained, let's move on.  The lesson form all of this is this: no matter how bad, how messed up, how confused things seem, they will normally be alright.  And no matter  what, God will be with us.  We all too often forget that and this Lent is a time to remember this lesson of the faith from Advent.
Emmanuel. God (is) with us.

Irony

Don't you just love irony?  I know I do - at least when it's in a show or play or book.  When it happens to me, not so much.  I'm supposed to be on a zoom call about technology use in churches.   I'm not because of technical difficulties.  Talk about irony.
So what to do?  Well, I'm alternative use of my time - like writing this reflection.  And I'm not fretting, at least not too much.  After all, there's nothing I can do about the problem.  I've checked and it's on the other end.  Oh well.
Lent is a time to reflect on lots of things - including the time we waste worrying over things beyond our control.  Every minute of every day is a gift from God.  It's a generous give, but not an endless one.  As the Scripture tells us, we have only so much time, and then it's over.  Let's make use of it in ways that would please the Lord.

Confused

The weather here in Northern N.H. is confused.  When I woke up this morning I found that 5 inches of snow had fallen.  Sure, this was good for the resevoirs and water table, but come on, its almost April!  I know that weather at this time of year is often unpredictable, but was this really necessary?  It's all so confusing - I'm pretty sure I saw a couple of flowers making their way through the earth the other day.  Now they're blanketed.
This odd weather is of a piece with our confusing times.  We make our way through Lent, with its discomfort as we examine our hearts and confront our sins, to the sure certainty of Easter, when we know that Jesus is resurrected.  Until then, accept that you might be confused, lost, wondering what is going on.  But know that God's love is coming, is indeed here with us now, and that should make it easier to find our way forward.