Pastors Letter: March
Love The Lord...
No matter our denomination Lent has always been a solemn season in the Church calendar. Even those of us not raised with “the Church Calendar” know that Lent is not meant to be fun, but a time when we focus on the suffering and sacrifice of God’s son our savior Jesus Christ. It is a penitential time, a repentant time, when devout Christians have typically “given up” some earthly pleasures — meats, sweets, parties, television, movies — to focus instead on spiritual growth. For some denominations there is an emphasis on Special Bible studies, prayer groups and a great emphasis on meditation.
During Lent, we ought to be looking at the various ways in which we get involved in manufacturing the gods that suit us. Those gods that control various parts of our lives that becomes an idolatry that constantly keeps us prisoner. Like Jesus clearing the temple so we clean out those parts of our lives that control us. We too throw out those people and ideas that have developed a type of religion that desecrates our existence. As we make these changes we stand with our Lord and fellow Christians in a great silence and a great space.
Now read I Corinthians 1:18-25. I’m going to suggest that Christianity offers us a topsy-turvy world, a ditzy divine scenario. I’m suggesting that the Lenten season is the time when we should be preparing ourselves not to totally go all centered and solemn, but to go flat out “crazy” with renewed energy.
Paul declares in this passage that we are not to necessarily be super spiritual but daring to be super strange. Lent is the season in the church when we actively “celebrate’ Jesus’ doomed entry into Jerusalem and anticipate his criminal conviction and his cruel crucifixion on the cross. Our faith is a stumbling block to many in the world. We believe our God makes foolish the wisdom of the world. God choses the weak things of world to shame the strong. Talk about weird holidays.
Now I’m still going to ‘give up” something and make sure “I have no other God’s before me.” But I am also going to celebrate how God continues to up end our world in so many wonderful ways. Great is our God and greatly to be praised. Join me.
Altar A. Ego
How Rich Are We?
From the standpoint of material wealth, Americans have difficulty realiz-ing how rich we are. Going through a little mental ex- ercise suggested by Robert Heilbroner, a number of years ago, can help us to count our blessings, how- ever. Imagine doing the following, and you will see how daily life is for as many as a billion people in the world.
Take out all the furniture in your home except for one table and a couple of chairs. Use blanket and pads for beds.
Take away all of your clothing except for your oldest dress or suit, shirt, or
blouse. Leave only one pair of shoes.
Empty the pantry and the refrigerator except for a small bag of flour, some
sugar and salt, a few potatoes, some onions, and a dish of dried beans.
Dismantle the bathroom, shut off the running water, and remove all the electrical wiring in your house.
Take away the house itself and move the family into the toolshed.
Place your "house" in a shantytown.
Cancel all subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, and book clubs. This is no
great loss because now none of you can read anyway.
Leave only one radio for the whole shantytown.
Move the nearest hospital or clinic ten miles away and put a midwife in charge
instead of a doctor.
Throw away your bankbooks, stock certificates, pension plans, and insurance
policies. Leave the family a cash hoard of ten dollars.
Give the head of the family a few acres to cultivate on which he can raise a
few hundred dollars of cash crops, of which one third will go to the landlord
and one tenth to the money lenders.
Lop off twenty-five or more years in life expectancy.
By comparison how rich we are! And with our wealth comes responsibility to
use it wisely, not to be wasteful, and to help others. Think on these things.
“You shall love the Lord your God….and your neighbor as yourself.”
Yours, taking stock of all I have,
Altar A. Ego