Pastor’s Note – March 15, 2019

Schweitzer UMCNews

The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness…Mark 1:12.

Life can be really full or not. Life can be empty. Life can be deep or shallow. God is good.

My life is full lately. I’m enjoying playing Pickleball with friends, going to basketball games with old friends, and drinking coffee with newer friends (“The Curmudgeons”) at Panera; meeting/praying with “my” band. Serving in ministry with a great team is a blast; doing life with the people of Schweitzer and our community is a ride of a lifetime!

I’m thankful for good dinners with Roxanne, watching Doc Martin together. Thankful, too, for BBQ lunches and talking sports with son, Jeff, and long distance chats with son, Clay, from Santa Monica about life in a big world.

Life is good. I’m blessed. Life is deep too. It’s the season of Lent.

Culture’s daily story of noise, busyness, consumerism and competition is often the loudest shaping voice of our lives”, says Pastor Calhoun, co-pastor of Redeemer Church. She’s right.

The season of Lent takes us deeper in connecting with God. Each year the season of Lent asks us to embrace a spiritual gravity, a downward movement of soul, a turning from our self-sufficiency and sinfulness. In such quiet turning, we are humbled and thus made ready to receive from God a fresh and joyous grace (Living the Christian Year, 127).

In Lent, we remember we are finite beings and sinful persons, we are destined to die. And we humble ourselves before God. It’s a sobering season of 6 weeks, turning, going deep with eternal God.

In Lent, we walk with Jesus into the desert, fasting and praying in the wilderness, on the road to Jerusalem, into the garden to pray on our knees, to the cross. The wilderness is necessary, solitude and quiet shape us; the Spirit is with us. Life takes on deep meaning, death too. We enter deeply into spiritual disciplines like fasting which shape, transform, reveal to us… in life with God.

Fasting makes space for God, both in our hearts and schedules. Fasting helps us listen to God, in some mysterious way strengthens our prayers, thru our faith in asking and discernment in listening. Fasting brings us face to face with how we put the material world ahead of its spiritual Source. (136, 137). God speaks to me with clarity in my fasting (like how to live more simply with God in sabbatical this summer).

Join us next Wednesday for our third Prayer and Fasting time of worship from 12:00 to 12:30 in the sanctuary. Practice self-emptying and rediscover the Fast. And, after all, what significance can Easter have if we don’t know the experience of Lent? (71).

Life is gift in its fullness, in the wilderness too. Life is full, deep, rich. God is good. Thanks for the privilege of being your pastor,

Jim

As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem…Luke 9:51