Night and Day

John La Farge, Visit of Nicodemus at Night, 1880

The ending of Daylight Savings Time last weekend has caused a re-awakening around our town.  Birds have returned in force; the robins’ chatter lasts all morning on the church lawn as they hop continuously, pecking at dirty snow, discerning food.  Young and old are returning to their outside exercise routines, squirrels are in a frenzy (because the neighborhood dogs are in their backyards again?), and in general, moods are lighter.

But this Sunday, March 20, 2011, we hear a reading that occurs at night.  Nicodemus comes to Jesus after dark–shorthand for “in secret.”  He has questions, questions, questions.  And Jesus has a listening ear, and so much more.  He has time, words, and best of all:  promises.  He offers light in the dark.  He is light in the dark.  He is light. 

“How can this be?”  the readers of John’s Gospel ask, alongside of Nicodemus.  These fascinating teachings Jesus shares stun the learned, stifle the hypocrites, and free the sinners.

We are entering fully into the themes of Lent now.  Consider the questions you bring to Jesus in secret.  Where in your life do you find yourself saying, “How can this be?” 

And as you sit, with Jesus and your questions, what does Jesus say to you?

God of dark spaces and enlightened places, in our deepest questions, you have time, words, and, best of all–promises.  Amen.

We Know How the Story Ends, Though.

To live is to struggle against forces.  Forces both within us and from without.  Jesus was no different, as our Gospel story for this first Sunday in Lent shows us.

It is fitting as we enter the Lenten season to be reminded first of Jesus’ humanity.  Especially after last week’s story of the Transfiguration, we could be drawn off course, into a common heresy that Jesus was just a little bit “specialer,” a little less human, floating a few inches above ground…whereas the rest of us chumps are stuck in a life of drudgery.

Not so.  Jesus enters fully into our life, drudgery, chumphood, and all.  Pain and all.  Temptation and all. 

The Temptation of Christ on the Mountain by Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319)

Hunger. 

Recklessness. 

Prestige. 

Power. 

It’s all here, in eleven verses, the story of how our deepest fears bring us off track, time and again.  Away from serving the Lord and toward self-reliance.  It’s a same old stuff we’ve been tempted by since the Garden of Eden.

Now this fact could make us despair, and many do.  But if you’re looking for something more…you might want to re-read the title of this entry.

Powerful savior,  you meet every temptation with us.  For us.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Midweek Lenten Worship Schedule

Mid-Week Worship

Lenten Season 2011

Hidden With Christ

Wednesday, March 9     Imposition of Ashes/Holy Communion           

12:30 pm and 7 pm (no meal)

Wednesday, March 16   Hidden With Christ:  Colossians 1:15-20           

Soup Supper 5:45 pm/Worship 6:30 pm

Wednesday, March 23   Hidden With Christ:  Colossians 2:9-14              

Soup Supper 5:45 pm/Worship 6:30 pm

Wednesday, March 30  Hidden With Christ:  Colossians 2:20-3:4          

Soup Supper 5:45 pm/Worship 6:30 pm

Wednesday, April 6       Hidden With Christ:  Colossians 3:12-17             

Soup Supper 5:45 pm/Worship 6:30 pm

Wednesday, April 13     Hidden With Christ:  Colossians 3:23-24; 4:2-6     

Soup Supper 5:45 pm/Worship 6:30 pm

Thursday, April 21         Maundy Thursday/Holy Communion                 

Worship 6:30 pm (no meal)

Friday, April 22               Good Friday Tenebrae Worship                           

12 noon and 7 pm (no meal)

Soup suppers will include awareness-raising for ELCA WORLD HUNGER.

Come and be fed:  body, mind & spirit.

Remembering Jordan

Many community members, including the First Lutheran Luther League, came out to support the Ressler family as they begin plans for the JR Foundation.  The news media was there, too!  Here are links for you:

Channel 6:  http://kaaltv.com/article/stories/S2004565.shtml?cat=10226  (print story at left; click the play arrow at right to watch the film)

Channel 10:  http://www.kttc.com/Global/story.asp?S=14198153 (video at top, print story below)

and the Rochester paper:  http://www.postbulletin.com/news/stories/display.php?id=1447168

and the Austin paper!  http://www.austindailyherald.com/2011/03/07/showing-support-for-jordan-ressler/

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don’t want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time

Anyone remember these lyrics?  David Bowie.  1972 was the year.  It’s a song about identity…recognizing who you are…and (perhaps more so), who you don’t want to be. 

Turning and facing the strain is exactly the movement Jesus takes this Sunday, March 6th,  in our Transfiguration story.  Jesus goes up a mountain, revealing the changing face of glory to a few disciples, only to come back down again.  To the people.  And to the cross.

The David Bowie song is almost forty years old [sidenote to readers:  how can that be!?!?].  And yet I still hear it, often, on the radio today.  This song is rated as #127 in the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.  I guess we are still seeking to understand our own changes in life. 

God of ch-ch-ch-changes: change us, too.  Amen.