Third Sunday in Lent

All of us have, at some stage, seen the humble bumblebee. We see them flying around, from flower to flower, spreading pollen. Few of us are likely to have thought much more about them, other than that we need to be wary of their sting. Or perhaps, that we desperately need to retain bees as a part of our ecosystem, for our own survival.

Scientists who have studied bees have said that these insects should not be able to fly. They have the wrong body shape and their wings are too small to lift them up. The trouble is, no one told the bumblebee, who simply seemed to figure that they have wings and therefore they can fly… so they do!!

This is one of God’s miracles of creation!! It is something that should be impossible but, by the creative power of God, it is a fact for which we have no explanation.

We human beings are not built to fly … but supposedly we are made in the image and likeness of Jesus … so we should be able to resist temptation and love our neighbours and forgiving our enemies seems a hopeless task. Fitting us into a Christ shaped mould seems as impossible as a bee lifting up in flight. A man said that he invited a friend to go to church with him. The friend answered, “Well, I’d like to go. But the church is so full of hypocrites.” The man replied, “That’s okay. There’s always room for one more.” Christians are not perfect, but they know themselves to be forgiven!! This is a truth that Christians need to remember whenever they are tempted to make judgements on others.

So, you have slipped into bad habits? You realise you have made mistakes and fallen into sin? You can’t forgive a neighbour, a brother or a sister? And you believe that to truly follow Jesus is an impossibility? You say in your heart “I cannot do this and I’m not supposed to, after all, I am merely human” But, remember the bumblebee, it shouldn’t be able to fly, but through the power and strength of God it does.

Faith is the power by which we too step beyond the possible to “move mountains”. Faith in God is what enables us to know the reality of the resurrection. May this be your hope and belief?

First Sunday in Lent

We have just entered into the first full week of Lent. People have asked me for advice on what to give up. I know that some people are giving up a couple of hours of their time in order to study God’s word with the help of our study guide “Led By The Spirit” by The Rev. Dr Robert Bos.

Many give up something they really enjoy like a glass of wine, chocolate, Facebook etc. and then spend Lent desperately longing for the end of the 40 days so that they can once again enjoy these pleasures. Sadly, this means they miss the point and the purpose of this “giving up”.

In Christian tradition an Ignation retreat calls for participants to let go of all things for 30 days…. No TV, newspapers, books (except the bible), conversation, contact with loved ones. The only breaking of silence is in worship and a daily conversation with the retreat conductor.

The purpose is not to punish ourselves or prove how strong we are… but to enter the desert in order let go of all that comes between God and ourselves.

My son lives in Broken Hill… He drives backwards and forwards through the desert, as quickly as possible, stopping only to refuel. His focus is on getting home, or getting to some place of importance. Sadly, he sees little of value or beauty on the journey… he has seen it all before.

We can be like that in our journey through Lent. We have seen it all before…. We want to get to Easter. But have you wandered through a desert? Have you really looked where you are placing your feet, or in crevices out of the way?

For us, it is the journey which is most important… not the destination! Slow down! In rushing through the day, in rushing through Lent, we miss the wonder of the moments-
the encounters with God and with our true selves – and they are the gems that make living each day worthwhile!

Minnie L. Haskins “The Desert” wrote “And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way,’” So, as we step out into the desert let us place our hand in the hand of God.

Transfiguration

Moses and Elijah are two of the greatest Jewish heroes. Some Christian scholars suggest that in the transfiguration event, Moses represents the Law and Elijah the prophets. Both Moses and Elijah were called to lead God’s people in a new direction. Jesus shares this prophetic call with them. In seeing Moses, Elijah, and Jesus together, the disciples catch a glimpse of life in the reign of God to come.

The disciples do not hear the exchange between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah because they are asleep. When they awaken, they see Moses and Elijah begin to depart. Eager to capture the glory of God revealed in this place, Peter suggests building a dwelling for each one. Yet the glory of God is not something to be captured or preserved; it is something to be experienced in our living.

As for us, we can simply read this Gospel passage and reflect on the experience of the disciples as they saw Jesus in a new light – a holy light. This Christ is not simply the human one but also the presence of someone who lives beyond our humanness and whom we may regard with awe. On the other hand, many of us have had experiences of the presence of God in varying ways – ways which have left us in the same sort of awe as the disciples. Often we don’t share them with each other, in case people may think we are not telling the truth or that we are somewhat weird. Yet, to own and share an experience like this is to see that we can enter the mystery of Christ, and receive strength.

May your week be transformed by the presence of Jesus, the Christ, in every moment.