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Pastor's Notes from The Scribe (February 2013)

posted Feb 5, 2013, 2:27 PM by Pastor Russ Crouthamel

“Bach is, for me, the Christian artist par excellence, and if I ask myself why, I think it has something to do with his sense of newness.  I’ve been working on his C Minor Toccata and Fugue since college, and I find something new in it every day.  And perhaps this is because God was new for Bach every day, was never taken for granted.  Too often we do take God for granted.” (40 Day Journey with Madeleine L’Engle, p.34, Augsburg Fortress 2009)

Every year we celebrate the season of Lent.  And every year, many of us experience that “wake up” call to return to practices that enhance our spiritual lives.  We return to or re-evaluate those practices such as fasting, almsgiving, and prayer.  We may even find ourselves offering our time to additional volunteer opportunities.  Some of us “return to or re-evaluate” these practices because of the call we hear on Ash Wednesday – “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”  We practice these disciplines because we want to return to our God, who calls us to put our utmost trust in him and care for others in need.

Nevertheless, at the conclusion of Lent, how many of you have built up these practices only to find yourselves not practicing them daily or lose the discipline altogether?  You might get caught up in the joy of the Easter celebration that you simply forget to practice daily prayer or fasting and routine almsgiving.  Or, the seasons of Spring and Summer come that you find yourselves saving money for vacation or that you do not have as much time anymore.  I know it happens to me.  For instance, every year I am very good at doing my daily devotions during Lent.  Yet, once the sun is out and the warm weather comes into town, I find myself forgetting to devote that 20-30 minutes to God each day.

The point of lifting up spiritual practices in Lent is not simply so we can develop these practices during the forty day journey and then not practice them throughout the rest of the church year.  The point of lifting up these practices is to remind us that we need to daily return to our Lord by trusting in God and caring for others each day of our lives.  Spiritual practices and disciplines bring us closer to God.  Spiritual practices help us to see the needs of the world and to respond to them.

When we make it a point to practice these disciplines daily, we may even – like L’Engle – find “newness” in our relationship with God.  When we make it a point to practice our spirituality, we may discover the infinite blessings God gives to us each day.  When we continue these practices throughout the year, we may find God opening up our lives to new possibilities to share the Word with others, to be all things to all people, and to love as Christ first loved us.

In Christ ~ Pastor Maureen

Prayer: Good and Gracious God, reveal to us your divine love and will through our own spiritual practices and devotion, that we may grow a deeper trust in you and care for those in need of your love.  We ask all this in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

One thing I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. ~ Psalm 27:4