Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The 12th Day of Lent

This morning began for me around 7:30 a.m ...... That is excluding  a 4:00 a.m rise to let the dog out for a few minutes to do her business.
It gave me time to  play a round of Internet Scrabble while waiting for her  "Lemmie in Lemmie in! Whine".
I did get back to sleep, but my thought process was already warming up.
Lent is busy for us.
My poor old brain is filled with thoughts of our people and what is happening in their lives:
  •  Some gone South on Vacation, 
  • one gone West in hopes of a heart transplant,
  • people shut in,
  • people wounded and hurting,
  • people who are grieving
  • people who are poor
  • people who are lonely
  • people having great success,
  • people having babies and requesting baptisms,
  • people needing to be prepared for weddings,
  • people in hospital,
  • people with loved ones who are very ill,
  • people who wish to explore their faith...
  • people who are far from faith,
  • people who could care less.
  • people.......................................................
Today is Tuesday February 26. It is the 12th day of Lent.
Almost a Third of this Holy Season is done; like every year I am reminded of how far we have travelled......away from the traditions that were sustained by the culture.
As the year end came our parish could happily report that:
1.We are doing fairly well financially. We met the budget,and are paying our bills.
2.Church attendance has increased.
3.Our envelope offerings have increased substantially  last year.

  • At our first early Lenten service last Wednesday,we had around 13 people at the morning Eucharist
  • At the Evening service there were more people in the choir than in the Congregation.
  • We held our parish Annual Meeting and Potluck on Sunday Afternoon,and there were around 32 people there.


At our Staff meeting yesterday,Brian and I were discussing how much things have changed in relation to Pastoral Care.
We are worried that people are not being asked the proper questions in relation to Clergy Visits at the hospital. We don't want to miss anyone! BUT...the Privacy Act disqualifies us from access to any record if we have not been given specific permission by the patient.
Seems though, some folks really don't mind if we don't turn up.  Our documentation tells us that almost 50 percent of those being admitted to the Homes and Hospital here in Gander specifically state that they do NOT want Clergy visits.

Sigh.... .

Checked this morning's email and found a note from an old friend who felt the need to  tell me that she does not really believe any more.....
Yesterday I held Confirmation Class after School,and around 1/3 of the class of 18 were away due to a school French Camp.Most of them didn't tell me they were going.
Many of the young people in our confirmation class are really just learning about the possibilities of faith for the first time. Most of them have not been members of our Sunday School through the years,and haven't attended public worship. They certainly haven't learned about their Baptismal promises.
BUT At one point in our discussion ,I asked them if they felt like they were members of the Family of St. Martins .  They did!

I reminded them that because of Jesus, we are one great family,and that their Church Loves them very much. I was able to remind them as well,that  they were full and equal members of the Body of Christ,and that they were important for the future of the Church.

1 Timothy 4:12: Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Every time I work with young people I treasure the experience and am filled with hope. .Even though they are a visible reminder that the Church we have grown so comfortable with,cannot and will not remain the same, I know there will be a Church and It will be led by the same Spirit of Jesus,who was,and is, and is yet to come.
I am newly committed to give the best I can to them,while I can. I pray for more people to engage and share in  the passion of providing a Spiritual foundation for the up and coming generation.

Thinking about Lent ,I recently remembered the words of Scott Peck:

Why don't we see more deep Spiritual Growth? well,...most people are just spiritually lazy. And when we are lazy, we stay on the path we are already on, even if it is going nowhere.
Man that's tough...but true.

Perhaps..... While the beauty of Lent is NOT in the discouragement,sadness,frustration,unbelief ,separation and spiritual laziness that surrounds us;the beauty and treasure that Lent is can be realized when all of this comes into focus for me (and YOU) as individuals and we can say.... "Okay...Okay....I See!" 

Lent gives a strong invitation to say"Okay.  I see that in myself,and I don't want my life to be that way any more." 
When that happens,we open the door,and invite God's mystery and presence.

Let me share with you:

 I believe from my experiences that when life's safe routines are broken or sudden change comes, people are led (or forced) to a place where two things can happen:

1. Losing Sight of God and faith, or
2.The nurturing of a deeper, more real ,and Honest relationship with God.

Here is some scripture to consider:

Mark 8:22 ff.And they came to Beth-sa′ida. And some people brought to him a blind man, and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the village; and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands upon him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see men; but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then again he laid his hands upon his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly.

We return O Lord,and once again ask for your healing touch.
Open our eyes,so we can see Clearly.


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