Blessings to all of you as we enter February!

During this month, we transition from Sundays after Epiphany to Lent. Time is passing, and through the beautiful and varied weather we’ve had this January, Lent always feels to me as if it’s the break in winter, the harbinger of Spring, and Easter, and there’s nothing so wonderful as springtime in the Rockies!

Although February has come upon us quickly, we kick it off with the fun of the Chili Dinner, the delight of celebrating love on Valentine’s Day, the Pancakes of Shrove Tuesday, and then on Ash Wednesday, we enter the solemnity of Lent, which continues with fasting and penitence, and the turning up of the soil of our hearts in preparation for new life as we enter spring and Easter. February brings Gospel lessons that look to the wholeness and health that comes with the Kingdom of God come near- we begin with Jesus casting out demons, continue on with stories of the many healing all manner of illness and sickness as Jesus travels throughout Galilee.

We are in the year of the Gospel of Mark, and so the energy and quickness of Jesus’ travelling and healings come alive, and we will move right along! We are invited in the readings to join this marvelous procession, and to see with our own eyes God’s miraculous work among us, healing, caring, restoring, and bringing new life.

On the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, we hear again the marvelous account of The Transfiguration- of Jesus on the mountain with Elijah and Moses, and with the glorious glimpse that Peter, James and John had of Jesus in glory~ here on earth hearing God’s words: “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”

Immediately after the Transfiguration, we come to Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the forty days we mark with fasting, prayer, and increased awareness of the temptation of Jesus. We hear the call to “rend our hearts, not our garments” as we open the depths of our being to the love of God, and prepare to enter the fullness of the joy of the Easter celebration. And so in Lent we will cleanse ourselves and open our hearts to the love and forgiveness, the love and sacrifice, the love and healing of our Lord.

And so, on the last Sunday of February, the First Sunday of Lent, at the beginning of our Lenten journey, we hear God’s own words about Jesus again: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Immediately after Jesus’ baptism, with God’s affirmation still ringing the air, “the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.” And so we begin our own temptation in our own wilderness, our forty days with Christ.

Lent comes upon us quickly as we enter February; so it is a good time to begin to pray and to consider how it is that you will enter Lent~ what will be your focus as you prepare your heart, as you bring your own resurrected self into the fullness of joy of Jesus’ resurrection at Easter. It will be a wonderful journey- we are so very blessed to be on this journey together! So take heart as you make plans… we do not walk the forty days alone. In joys and sorrows, challenges and comforts, all the while we remind one another that our loving God is with us and guiding our footsteps each and every step of the way.

The Alleluias are not yet buried for Lent, and so I end this by saying to it all… Alleluia, Amen!

Peace be with you, Vicar Janet

Welcome 2015! New Year…New Beginning…Hallelujah!

St. Benedict, in Rule for Monasteries: “Always we begin again.”

It is true~ Constantly, we begin again. And for me, beginning again is helped by a proper ending. Therefore, for many years now, Ron and my New Year’s Eve has been filled with ending the year that was, and looking forward to the year to come. We have questions and categories: what was the best of the year… the hardest, most surprising, or most memorable event…. These questions and their answers help put the year that’s ending to bed, so to speak, and to move ahead into the New Year with as little baggage as possible.

So, every year as we go through this ritual of remembering and reflecting, we end with my very favorite question of every day, and every week: what was your “Moment Closest to Christ”. Invariably, sifting through the possible “Moments closest to Christ” opens my mind and heart to see anew- and sometimes for the first time, as other aspects than I was aware of at the time reveal themselves- moments of incredible grace and beauty and love that have filled my life.

With the review of moments past, there is the blessing of seeing a richness of being that can be missed in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Seeing in that new light encourages me to resolve to be intentional about not missing these moments in the New Year~ it reminds me to look ahead with resolve to stay centered, mindful, and thankful, of God Present each and every moment. And it helps me see that the moments of greatest stress, disappointment, and difficulty have provided new life- and I have changed for better because of them. Do you find this to be true? The long view- and seeing God in each and every detail, each and every step- may 2015 be filled with this way of life.

In this time of beginning again-
May the fullness of God’s Loving Presence Surround You!

May you know each and every moment that you are not alone- and that your beginnings and endings are all held in absolute love by your Creator and Friend, and may that assurance fill you with joy and confidence and thanks!

And May that Peace that Passes All Understanding be with you each and every moment of this New Year!

As we begin again with joy in Christ,
Vicar Janet