“I just can’t watch or listen to the news anymore, Pastor. It is too much.” I nodded my head and said I knew exactly what he meant. I hear this from many of you, and feel it in my own heart, on a regular basis. The suffering and pain of this world is enormous. It is overwhelming. It has so many dimensions that one can’t figure out where to start.
There is “a great book,” Saint Augustine says, “the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Note it. Read it.”
We all know how hurried and busy life can be. We are consumed by our calendars and the drive to get to the next thing. As we observe the holiest week of the Christian year, I wonder what it might take to “slow our roll;” to pause long enough to let the passion of Jesus soak into our pores and touch our hearts.
For thousands of years, followers of Christ have gathered together for the week leading up to Easter, when we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord. We call this week Holy Week. It is a time when we celebrate the death and the resurrection of Jesus.
Some nights I lie awake, wishing for sleep, because I’m fretting about you. I’m worrying about your health, hoping for your peace. I’m tossing and turning about what to teach and preach. I’m vexed about simply keeping track of your coming and going. Sometimes I try counting sheep as I fret about counting and tending the sheep.
For most of recorded history, access to music was not always a given. If you lived prior to the late 1800s and you wanted to listen to music, you would need to either play it yourself or go somewhere where music was being played or sung, most likely the neighborhood pub or your church.
During this season of Lent, our theme is Word. Water. Wine. Bread. It is drawn from one of our core beliefs: God's love is poured out when God's people gather around Word, water, wine and bread. We dare to believe that when the people of God gather these simple, ordinary things become a means of receiving God’s grace.
Dear ones of the Southeastern Iowa Synod,
I am writing to you today, at the beginning of Lent, a season when we journey together as the Body of Christ returning to God in repentance and focusing on practices of fasting, prayer, and charity. It so happens that the season of Lent often aligns with legislative sessions at the state and federal levels. I give thanks for elected leaders, their staff, and all engaged in public service. It is the practice of communities of faith to pray for “ the church universal, its ministry, and the mission of the Gospel; for the well-being of creation; for peace and justice in the world, the nations, and those in authority, the community; for the poor, oppressed, sick, bereaved, lonely, and all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit; for the congregation, and for special concerns, and for with thanksgiving for the faithful departed.” (ELW p. 105-106) I hope in the season of Lent and throughout the year, we pray for public servants, for those in authority, and for the complex world in which they govern.