Saturday, February 16, 2008

I shall be their God and they shall be My people

The other day while bustling about some chores, I heard a TV pundit breezily refer to “the post-Christian era.” None of the learned panelists took exception. And he continued to prattle on in the context of what one and all accepted as a fait accompli: Christianity is a spent force, and the world is far better off for it. What was chilling was not the audacity of the statement, but the nonchalant banality of what was assumed to be accepted wisdom. The in-your-face God is dead crowd have been supplanted by a much hipper bunch.

My reflexive annoyance passed quickly to pity and then to gratitude. For truly, I know that my Redeemer liveth. He has been present to me so clearly in the last month. As you may know, Jane and our new baby William between them have been in and out of Good Samaritan five times in the past month. The prayers, good wishes and all manner of practical support that poured from our parish family was humbling and inspiring. The body of Christ came together instantly and constantly to nurture and protect. We have all seen this spirit of Christ-inspired love manifested over and over at St. Peter’s. But it is a unique and heartening perspective to be on the receiving end. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Though surely none would ever choose it, what an apt entry point to Lent – overwhelmed and frightened, then sustained and assured, and finally reflective and thankful. That is the human condition in Christ as we pass through a brief lifetime of Lents in anticipation of an eternal life secured for us by His passion, death and resurrection. And what makes our passage so wonderful is the kindness, the courtesy, the help we extend and are extended in Christ’s name and in pale reflection of what is to come. What a stark contrast with the finite horizons and cynical view of those who shut out the glory of God all around them.

So as we proceed into Lent let us make our way confidently to the cross. Use this time to get back to basics. Open our hearts to God. Acknowledge our too human failings. Ask His forgiveness. Forgive slights and hurt feelings. And don’t forget to forgive ourselves. The Lenten program outlined in the bulletin is the perfect venue for such a fundamental re-encounter with God. Consume it whole, take a bite or just nibble around the edges. The more you get into it, the more you get out of it.

Sincerely yours in the love of the risen Christ,

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