Marvin Repinski: Lent: A time to deal with jagged edges

Published 5:23 pm Friday, February 24, 2023

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A church newsletter has this message:

“Lent is the period of 40 days leading up to Easter (note:  Sundays don’t count).  It is a time of preparation and focus, reminiscent of Jesus’ time in the wilderness before he started his public ministry (See Mark 1, Matthew 4, or Luke 4). We believe that Jesus went to the wilderness to set aside the distractions of normal, ‘worldly’ life and focus on God’s will for him.  We attempt to do the same during Lent.  We can ‘enter the wilderness’  this Lenten season and find some focus too.  Not all churches set aside a period of time termed Lent, but there are often special days or events that do focus on the growth of the heart.”

Coggin Hering Heeringa from the state of Washington wrote about the migration of birds. During this season we may find strength in each other.

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“Few things about the seashore delight me more than the sanderlings that live in the shimmering stretch of sand where land meets water.  When these shore birds feed, their tiny beaks poke the sand like sewing-machine needles.  Invariably sanderlings feed in flocks.

Biologists tell us flocking birds fare better than those that go it alone.  Birds in a flock are better fed because they can locate food more efficiently than an individual bird.  Many eyes share the task of looking for danger as well as looking for food.

Watching the sanderlings, I realized that a Christian fellowship is like a flock.  Members are better supplied with the food of the Spirit when they search together.”

A statement of encouragement was recently printed by Pastor Donna Dempewolf of First United Methodist Church.

“Taking care of ourselves sustains us for whatever life throws at us, be it mountaintops or valleys.  We all have mountaintop experiences, but most of our life is not lived on the mountaintop.  We all have valley experiences, and fortunately, life is not lived just in the valleys.  Most of life is lived somewhere in between.  No matter where you are currently in your life, God is with you.  God’s salvation is for our whole selves:  God cares about our bodies, our minds, and our souls.  Sabbath rest is a must for a soul reset.  It is an essential ingredient for spiritual, emotional, and physical renewal.  What are some of your rituals and routines for healthfulness?”

“Explore Matthew 11:28-30, 1 Kings 19:5-9, 11-12.  We will gather and replace our fears with faith, our unrest with rest, and our hunger.”

Ms. Zobeida Carrasquillo of Puerto Rico, tells of a classroom learning experience.  Are the days of Lent a gift to open us to new thoughts and behaviors?

“I taught first grade for more than 30 years.  One day, one of my students brought a caterpillar to the classroom.  We placed it in a glass jar, along with some leaves and dried twigs.  For several days, we watched the caterpillar.  One morning, the children were upset because the caterpillar was gone.  Instead, resting on a dry twig was a prepupa.  I took that moment to explain the metamorphosis: the prepupa hardens to form a chrysalis and inside the chrysalis, the pupa changes into an adult butterfly. The students kept watch for almost two weeks, but there was no apparent change. Then one day, a student pointed excitedly toward the glass jar, saying,  ‘It’s moving!’  The students gathered round to observe as a weak butterfly struggled to break through.  It was hard work; the progress, difficult.  I explained to the students that the difficult struggle is what strengthens its legs and wings so that it can fly.”

1 Corinthians 12:12-28, is a lesson in introspection.  Look at who you are!

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.  Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.  If the foot would say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear would say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body.’  If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?  But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  If all were a single member, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many members, yet one body.”

This commentary grants insight into a holistic view of each of us. For me as a pilgrim Christian, with flaws and rough spots (the jagged edges), in this season I offer my prayers. These are lines that resonate with me:

God of darkness and light, from the beginning of time when you created evening and morning and declared them to be good, you have been with your people in all times and places.

You call us from the east and the west, from the north and the south, to gather at the new dawn that Christ brings into our world, and to set aside the differences of the past.

In dreams and visions, in words and stories ancient and new, you speak to us your promise that is timeless, of a love that knows no boundaries.