A colleague of mine was called to be the rector of a well-known and large Episcopal church on Galveston Island. Like Redeemer, there were generations upon generations who had been baptized, confirmed, married, and buried there. We were all so proud and happy for her and we knew that Spirit’s ministry through her would be powerful in and with that community.
Everything began well enough. But after 4 months in, something happened. My friend began to get notes on her car windshield and unpostmarked letters threatening her life! Threatening graffiti was left on inconspicuous areas of the church property. Of course, the police were called in and a full investigation ensued. After much anguish and fear, the perpetrator was captured, and the rest of the story became unpleasant history.
A year and a half later all was well, but my friend was truly shaken by these events so soon after her arrival on the Island. We talked about it.
Katie+ said half-jokingly, “Freda Marie, I don’t know why we Christians are always so shocked at the uncomfortable things that happen in our lives. At least we know we’re on the right track.”
It felt dangerous at first, but then as faith would have it when the end was in sight, my friend could chalk up the whole thing to being “uncomfortable” and got on with the ministry to which she had been called.
Interesting, huh? Hard to hear? Surely. But true? Certainly.
A wise woman once said, “spiritual living is harmonious and easy, but not comfortable. Comfortable is not the goal!”
Our collective world places too much value on comfort as if it were a human right instead of a privilege and then only at certain points in any individual life. We can’t expect to breeze through life without some areas of discomfort and some wounded places. Pretending that they are not there is not useful to the cause of being human and being HUMAN is why Holy Mystery chose to become a part of creation as one of us.
Jesus lives not only as our teacher but as our guide and as life would have it, there were points in his life that were definitely uncomfortable. For example, those 40 uncomfortable days in the wilderness and the temptations that he endured gives us a glimpse of the grace that will sustain us too, until Eastertide. Our fasts may be uncomfortable, (for someone who likes to gossip it’s uncomfortable to fast from talking about an-other in order to feast on silence or even gratitude for the life of that other), but they are necessary.
This Lenten season will take us deeper into GOD if we so allow and to be in the PRESENCE of Holy Mystery means without a doubt—change. Transformation is the goal. Transformation into a people more loving, more patient, kinder, gentler, more compassionate and less judgmental—you get the picture.
These new ways are GOD in us, living LIFE through us and with us for LOVE’s sake. Heaven knows, the world in which we live needs to experience that kind of transformation NOW. Baltimore needs to experience transformation NOW. Our country needs to experience transformation NOW. Our world needs to experience transformation NOW. Living in the PRESENCE guarantees transformation.
Brothers and Sisters in Jesus, this Lent when your abstinence is feeling most uncomfortable or even when you “fall off the track”, it is okay. Pray, “help me Jesus!” get back on train and keep going. Our LORD will help us because he’s been there and done that. Have a Blessed Lent.
With Much Love,