Archive for category #spiritualretreat

Ephesians 5:8-14 Lenten Quarantine Prepares Us

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For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” [Eph 5:8-14, NRSA]

John 20:26-28 Jesus appears to the Disciples
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”  [NRSV]

ref: Exodus 12:3-13 Called to be inside for Passover
 [NRSV]

Luke 17:12 Social Distancing
As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance [NIV]

Learning from the New Way of Life

As this new reality unfolds, I invite you to be prepare for the long haul. As an international, global, community we have begun a process that is not a vacation and not a fashionable exercise. We have a very moving story shared from Darin Queen who had the great opportunity to deliver, even through social distancing, the prayer quilt that we prayed over this past Sunday. The gentleman who received his quilt, has a variety of very difficult physical factors that are end of life status, and yet he claimed the quilt with a tearful yet smiling face, knowing that in even in his suffering, there are those praying for his joy, his life, his family, his present and his future.

God cannot be stopped by virus or any boundaries. God is working through us. Can I get an Amen? We are here to give God praise and to worship God’s calling each of us to find new ways of connecting with our families, neighbors and strangers to share God’s good for us all.

LENT

By tradition, we are in the season of Lent. This is a period of spiritually healthy self-denial. Who knew back on Ash Wednesday that we would be taking the opportunity of Lent so seriously. Rather than being trapped in our homes for an undisclosed period of time, think of these weeks and months as a time of spiritual renewal.

When would you have gathered with your family and friends, even if by remote connections, to spend as much time together in our busy lives?
When would you have taken time off of work and school, or limited time apart for more than a holiday’s length, to have the gift of sabbath rest?
It has only been less than two weeks and our daughter Frances has declared, if we have learned how to live more simply, connect more meaningfully, and cherish our blessing in this short of time, why can’t this become more of our reality, rather than our captivity.

Begin to reframe, [same picture, with different frame/boarder, changes the way we look at the subject being framed.] our quarantine as a gift of renewal and growth.

I’m getting ahead of Lent by reminding us of John 21, where it had been the second week after the resurrection and the disciples were gathering in a house, out of the public arena, behind locked doors. They were filled with doubts, despite and fear. There were in a self-quarantine that was opposed of their usual life. They had been traveling, working, witnessing and living as they pleased. Now afraid of being discovered and questioning their faith.. Jesus appears with them even though the doors and windows were shut.

Two Powerful Lessons in One

  • In our times of doubt, fear, depression and seclusion, Jesus is able and ready to appear with us.
  • The second is that Nothing stops the work of God, God’s goal for us is faith, belief, and trust.

At a Distance {Lk 17:12}

We look back and see those who in Jesus time who were plagued with the skin condition, lepercy, were separation for fear of contagion and we sent to live outside the city walls. It is Jesus who comes to those who are quarantined and offers healing and inclusion back into the community.

When we think it’s the end, why are we hoarding TP instead of Jesus?

One of my favorite meme’s of the week has been, Why is it when we thing great calamity is coming that we rush to buy toilet paper? Should it be Jesus that we cling to first?

WAKE UP

So all this gets us to our passage from Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus: All this quarantine is a WAKE UP CALL to the relationships that are most important. This time is not only a slowing down of the business of our lifestyle, its s a WAKE UP to address the need to never be alone.

HomeWork for this Week:

  1. Therefore, this week find ways to bring light, hope, love and encouragement in every way that you can.
  2. stop conversations of blame, negativity, distrust and fear. Do not participate in them.
  3. look to Jesus to show up in our quarantine to reveal himself through study, song, prayer, encouragement, checking in with one another.
  4. Reframe these weeks and months ahead with the opportunity to clean up the darkness in our own faith, own homes, own thinking, to make room for the Jesus/Good News to be found in this season of spiritual retreat.

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