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The Chalice
Friday, February 16 2024

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Lenten Journey

This week’s Gospel from Mark is true to form – hastily moving through some significant events and offering few details. Jesus is baptized by John and as he comes up out of the water, the Spirit descends like a dove. Jesus alone hears a voice from heaven, which undoubtedly serves to solidify his identity and purpose. Immediately the Spirit drives him into the desert for 40 days and the only information we have about his experience there is that he is tempted by Satan and surrounded by wild beasts and angels, who waited on him. What happened then?

Lent is a journey that calls us to repent – to turn from familiar ways, even if we fear getting lost. We dread being surrounded by beasts – beasts that can overpower us. “Where am I, Lord? The wilderness journey I am on this year is new, and I am scared.”

What and who are your beasts? Be assured that 40 days well spent will end in unbounded joy!

For most of us at St. John’s, this is not our first Lent. We have ventured with Jesus into wildernesses of our own each year. This year, it is our hope that we can use this time to slow down from Mark’s rapid pace. To breathe. Breathing in God who yearns to deeply touch and heal us. We are being encouraged to open our minds and hearts to new ways of praying – new ways for some of us to be with God. Perhaps becoming more contemplative. According to Richard Rohr, “Contemplation is the practice of being fully present—in heart, mind, and body—to what is - in a way that allows you to creatively respond and work toward what could be. Contemplative prayer is a practice for a lifetime, never perfected yet always enough.”

Our individual journeys will take us each into our own matchless wilderness. As we allow God to grow our faith, we are gently urged to stretch a little more, to venture a little further – to take the risk of facing the temptations that distance us from God and to seek repentance. This can be scary and lonely, even when we do it as a church family through retreats and Lenten programs. But our readiness to be with Jesus in our wildernesses will deepen our relationship with God. Can you even imagine? Psalm 25 invites us to be led into God’s truth – to allow ourselves to be taught - inviting us into a deeper trust.

And 1st Peter reminds us that Christ suffered for all of our sins – once for all – in order to bring us to God. That is a love so great that it cannot be lost – we cannot lose it, so we might as well live into it as revealed to us each moment of Lent! Remember.... we are headed for Joy!

Journeying with you,
Deacon Claire

Posted by: Rev. Claire D. Mis, Deacon AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
St. John's Episcopal Church
12 Prospect St. | Huntington, NY 11743 | PH: (631) 427-1752
Sunday Services at 8 AM and 10 AM
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