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Beloved

posted Mar 23, 2019, 6:15 AM by Tricia Sheffield   [ updated Mar 23, 2019, 6:16 AM ]

Grace and peace to you in the name of God our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, and our fierce Advocate, the Holy Spirit.


We are now halfway through Lent. How is your Lenten journey going so far? How has it been to “take nothing with you” as we walk with Jesus his last forty days?


I was thinking about leaving things behind on Wednesday when I was clearing out brush in the Meditation Garden with Elder Beverly Poyner. There were so many branches, twigs, and pine needles to be scooped up. There was so much decay and clutter to remove. As I rolled out the heavy-laden wheelbarrow to the street, I thought, we carry so much stuff with us. We carry our rigidly held beliefs, our opinions on whatever topic is the flavor of the month, our hurts, our fears, our past hauntings. What does it look and feel like to let this all go during these days of Lent, and to listen to God and rely on God’s grace, instead of clinging to the clutter and listening to all the chatter around us? Can we approach a very well known story — the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus — in a different way that makes sense and gives us new meaning for today? I don’t pretend to have the answers to those questions, but I’m hoping we can try and find out together.


Then, I read a prayer/blessing from a book I just purchased. The blessings is based on Matthew 3.17, “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’” I thought of our congregation immediately in relationship to my Lenten garden musings.


If you would enter into the wilderness, do not begin without a blessing. Do not leave

without hearing who you are: Beloved, named by the One who has traveled this path

before you.


Do not go without letting it echo in your ears, and if you find it is hard to let it into your heart, do not despair. That is what this journey is for.


I cannot promise this blessing will free you from danger, from fear, from hunger or thirst, from the scorching of sun or the fall of the night. 


But I can tell you that on this path there will be help. I can tell you that on this way there will be rest. I can tell you that you will know the strange graces that come to our aid only on a road such as this, that fly to meet us bearing comfort and strength, that come alongside us for no other cause than to lean themselves toward our ear and with their curious insistence whisper our name:


Beloved.

Beloved.

Beloved.

—Jan Richardson, Circle of Grace


Letting go for the wilderness journey with Jesus is hard, but because of God’s grace we are given strength to release and be in the loving presence of Christ. And as we do, we hear our name: Beloved.


Blessings for your Lenten journey,


Pastor Trish


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