From the Pastor’s Desk… February 2024
I just love this picture. It brings a smile to my face each time I see it, and occasionally, I even get the chance to chuckle. It brings some perspective to life, to situations, to faith – if we truly open our eyes and focus on its simple message, and the impact it may have on our lives at a specific time, a specific day
In worship, we are slowing moving to the cross – the humanity of suffering and death. Our Lenten services will focus on our sinful and broken nature, and the promise of God’s forgiveness through Christ Jesus. We will be reminded of the sacrifices of the One who is fully human, fully divine. We will hear of Jesus’ ministry, the healings, the blessings, the questions, and the doubts. We will relive his days again in search of the truth, in search of something we have missed, or are missing, in our lives. Our journey will culminate in the 3-day walk through uncertainty and fear as we anticipate an empty tomb.
We will soon move slowly through the days, weeks, and months of this Lenten journey together. What are we to do? We find our world at the brink – getting worse by the day – the hatred and violence, the distrust and injustices, the wars and conflicts. We ask, what are we to do? Disease and illness, homelessness and hunger and its effects still plague people across the globe. And we ask, what are we to do? We find ourselves in our own Gethsemane… a garden of darkness and despair. The only question is – are we praying or are we sleeping? Read with me from Matthew’s gospel…
“Then Jesus went with them to a place called just Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.’ Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Again he went away for the second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.’ Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to his disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”
What are we to do? Jesus just answered that question for all of us. What did you hear him say – to you, to us?
Take another look at this picture. I do not see darkness or despair; I do not see pain or suffering; I do not see hiding or sleeping. Rather, I see God’s creature; I see thankfulness; I see arms outstretched for a big ole hug; I see proclamation; I see confidence and boldness; I see happiness and joy.
This Lenten season – as we journey together to the cross of Jesus, let’s commit to staying awake. Let’s be resolved in our prayer life. Let’s get up and going so we may proclaim God’s truth, and his promise of forgiveness and salvation.
God’s Blessings and Peace
Pastor Neil’s Office Hours
Tuesday-Wednesday 10:00 am – 3:00 pm