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February 15, 2018, 11:24 AM

We’re now one-day into our 40-day “journey” to Jerusalem.  Some thoughts for our reflection and prayer –

            Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, we gathered with the All Souls Episcopal community providing a powerful witness to Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer (refer to John 17) that his followers would be one.  As I noted at the beginning of the Homily, it was two-years ago that I began my Interim Pastor appointment proclaiming the “Good News” at All Souls.  My prayer continues that the Holy Spirit will touch the person who shall be Called as Messiah’s Pastor/Shepherd and find MLC “to BE” the ‘blessing’ that you ARE!

            As we “journey” together this third-year, let us remember Lent for what it IS, a time for faith-formation, grow-ing in the gift of our Baptism and in our relationship with Jesus personally as our Lord and Savior.  Toward that growth, remember Jesus’ teaching of the traditional forms of Jewish piety (Matthew 6.1-6, 16-21) as part of his larger teaching that we know as his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) –

      +    Almsgiving:  for the care of the disadvantaged and poor.

            Steward-ship – everything I DO after I say, “I believe!” – is my response to God’s love

shown to me in the person of Jesus the Christ.  It defines “Who” we are, people “blessed

‘to BE’ a blessing” as we live our faith as God’s “left-hand” advocating on behalf of the

“widow, orphan, sojourner/immigrant.”

      +    Prayer:  being opened to God’s good and gracious (though often hidden) will

and strengthened to live into it.

            “Wrestling” is an appropriate image for prayer, our on-going “conversation” with God as

we seek to discern what God is “call-ing” us “to BE”!  Our prayer doesn’t have to be

articulate or letter-perfect.  Sometimes simply saying, “Kyrie!  Lord, have mercy!” is all

we’re capable of expressing.  May it always be authentic!

      +    Fasting:  that it’s good for one’s health; good for self-discipline (vs. becoming self-

indulgent); it preserves our ability to do without “things”.

We learn that fewer “things” are regarded as essentials, recognizing that half the world’s

population, our sisters and brothers of our common humanity, go to bed hungry each day. 

For we who are “blessed” it’s further recognition that ALL is GIFT of a gracious and

loving God!

            When you attend worship this weekend, if you haven’t already obtained your “Giving Calendar for Lent 2018” and coin-bank, please do so!  It embodies all the Lenten disciplines noted above and cognizant of God’s many blessings.

            As for God’s blessings, our Lenten Midweek Worship – Wednesdays 2/21-3/21 11:00 am (followed by lunch of soup and bread) and 6:30 pm will find our focus on another of Martin Luther’s writings, the Smalcald Articles. 

Written in 1537, 20-years after posting his 95 Theses and all the resulting turmoil he experienced, Luther thought that his life would soon end.  But he wanted to leave behind his positive thoughts as to God’s presence and blessing for him, his wife Katie, and their children.  The Smalcald Articles are, in effect, his ethical Last Will and Testament.  We’ll use it to help us reflect on that with which God has blessed us. 

Copies of the Smalcald Articles are available in the Fellowship Hall, to give you a “heads-up” on our “mutual conversation and consolation” (one of my favorite of Luther’s quotable quotes that’s found in the SA).

Join the “journey”!  Come grow with your baptized “sisters-and-brothers” in Christ!


The Rev. Gary LaCroix, Interim Pastor