Lent

  • A beautiful red cardinal landed under a nearby shrub as I was hustling the kids out the door to school one morning this winter. It only registered with me a few hours later that I‘d seen this wonderful bird, red coat stark against the white snow and brown branches, a sign of life and spring around the corner. 

    That I noticed and remembered this special moment at all may be proof that God works miracles! After all, it can be so easy to go on autopilot and travel through life distracted and without noticing the blessings of the present moment.

    And the present moment is full of potential gifts. 

    The season of Lent marks the time in the Church year intended to help us especially focus on renewal and restoration, spiritual growth and deepening of faith. During this season we are invited to turn away from things that distance us from God, and allow God to open our eyes and hearts and lives to see God’s gracious love in Christ poured out in forgiveness - for us. Lent is a present-tense opportunity to ponder and pray on how the resurrection of our Savior Jesus gives us new life and new birth and new eyes and ears to see the world around us.

  • The wilderness can take many shapes. Maybe it’s the challenges of home, family and work. Or perhaps it’s illness, be it physical or mental, our own or those we love.

    Or perhaps it’s the wilderness that arrived for people in Alabama, with the loss of home and life from recent storms that like so many others, have been made more extreme by climate change.

    Or there’s the wilderness being faced by the people of Western Congo as they fight not only the Ebola outbreak that began in August, but the violence that has interrupted the work of healthcare folks who have otherwise successfully beaten back previous Ebola outbreaks.

    The wilderness, in these and so many other forms, can bow our shoulders and foil, get in the way of our efforts to practice joy in life.