“Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the friends, even though they are strangers to you; they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on in a manner worthy of God; for they began their journey for the sake of Christ…”
III John 5-7a
As much as most of us prefer things to be quick and easy, most of the important things in life are not. They tend to take time and take effort or at least they take reflection. In the Wilderness, 40 Days with Jesus is the theme of Lent at Trinity. It invites us to take a journey, a spiritual journey. We find journeys throughout the Bible, Abraham and Sarah journeying to Canaan; the children of Israel journeying 40 years to reach the Promised Land, the Magi journeying to see the newborn king; the disciples journeyed with their Master, the wandering rabbi Jesus. Paul and the Apostles undertook their missionary journeys.
Those journeys were physical but just as much they were spiritual. Those on them grew, learned, became aware and their lives were transformed. We need this journey of Lent. We each have to make the journey ourselves but we can journey together as a community of faith, as a church. As we seek God, we have to reflect on the truths of our lives. You have to look for God. But you also have to be willing to look at yourself in the mirror. That takes some courage. Who are you? Who do you want to be? More importantly, who does God want you to be? What is God doing in your life? As we seek God, God finds us. Come, I invite you let’s journey together.
Pastor Larry Lenow
What wilderness has your journey brought you through?
Hey y’all, my name is Bryce Miller and I am the Director of Youth Ministries here at Trinity. Most of you picture the wilderness as being isolated in the desert or lost in the woods like this. In Matthew 4, Jesus was driven out into the wilderness right after his Baptism, where he experienced what it meant to truly be hungry. Is that the only type of wilderness? Such isolation that all we think about is our survival? I believe that in our everyday lives we all have a place that feels like the wilderness, where we experience that sense of isolation and hunger that Jesus did.
During this season of Lent, I challenge you to contemplate where your wilderness is and what you hunger for in it.
-Bryce Miller, Director of Youth Ministries
Throughout Lent, we will be reflecting on different meanings of “hunger”.
Recently I have committed to a new healthier eating plan. As a result, I have hungered for food a little, but that physical “hunger” has not been as hard as the “hunger” for foods that are not on my new plan. I do not need those chips, cheese or ice cream because I am really eating plenty, but I do want those things that I love.
So our “hunger” can sometimes be good and sometimes not so good. Our “hunger” can power us to achieve great things. Or we could be driven by our “hunger” and loose our way. And what about that “hunger” that some have that cannot even be defined?
We have so much, how can we be so hungry? Even in our abundance, we may desire or “hunger” for many things: material things, personal needs, relationships, peace, safety or we may even “hunger” for purpose in our lives. So how can we be fed?
John 6:35 says:
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
We know that you have hungered and suffered for us. Thank you for that and thank you for knowing all of our hungers. Please help us to be fed by you, “the bread of life,” as we journey through Lent. Amen
-Leila Denton, Director of Children’s Ministries
Sabbath: February 18, 2018
When you’re hungry, how does it feel?
In this country, a lot of us have the luxury of not feeling hungry very long. Within a few hours, or minutes, or seconds, we have the means to satisfy our grumbling stomachs.
That’s not the kind of hunger of so many people in the world. Just over a year ago, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that 795 million people go to bed hungry, suffering from chronic undernourishment. That’s 1-in-9 people in our world. Most of whom live in what we call developing countries.
When Jesus fasted for forty days, he showed us something: that our spiritual life is connected to our eating life. We knew this from the practice of communion: Jesus is with us in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup. But Jesus is also with us in the absence of bread and wine, in the hunger for more than the brief satisfaction of a single meal. Jesus is with us in that deep hunger for a world where all people are fed from the abundance that God has given.
Lent is about reconnecting with that deep hunger for holy fullness. Skip a meal today or tomorrow, and don’t snack in between. That hunger you’ll start to feel? That’s how we’re supposed to feel in our hunger for God—and for God’s abundance for every person in this world.
When you’re hungry, how does it feel?
Go find out.
The plain truth is that we human beings have appetites and urges. We hunger for carnal things. You don’t have to look far to realize what a powerful force sex is in our world. Pornography is a multibillion-dollar industry. Human trafficking and the so-called sex trade is a global scourge. Sexual harassment, misbehavior and abuse have been all over the news. But you don’t have to go to such dark places to realize the larger truth. Open many magazines, watch a music video or most films and it is very clear that sex sells. Why is that? Have you ever wondered?
Sure, human sexuality is a gift from the God who created us. And it’s a very powerful force. But our cravings and our culture, both good and bad, cannot be explained away by talking about hormones. There is something else, something deeper but equally as basic going on. We want to be fully human; we want to love and to be loved. When our sexuality is exploited, cheapened or abused those deep yearnings have been misdirected and misused.
I Corinthians 6:19 reminds us that our bodies are temples that we have received from God. They are precious and worthy of respect, women, men, children, the aged. There is nothing wrong with our urges and appetites. What we do with them, how we act of them is another matter. As we spend these weeks in the wilderness with Jesus, I invite all of us to take an honest look at ourselves, our hungers and our world.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.”
Without electricity, the Trinity Hall mechanical room where I am standing at this moment could not operate.
Material things, comforts that we take for granted— heat, air conditioning, hot water, washing and drying dirty rags, dust mops, and mop heads could not take place.
Something we might not think about that often is the electricity inside our bodies. Yes, a complex grid of electrical signals is pulsing through the cells in our bodies helping to coordinate a vast array of movements and responses.
Without this internal electrical system our bodies could not operate.
In Ephesians Chapter 6, verse 10, we are reminded: “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.”
Navigating our way through the wilderness of life can be challenging for ourselves, but also for those we encounter in that journey.
How do we use the power within our bodies?
Do we use this power to focus on the material aspects of life, or do we use this power as a means for helping ourselves to navigate the wilderness of our daily living?
Do we use this power to reach out to assist others as they attempt to navigate the wilderness of their lives?
The Lord needs us to be strong as we do his work on earth.
In his power is a strength that is always available for us to use. When we use the Lord’s strength and power, we find His love and grace.
That love and grace gives us the capacity to move more confidently through the wilderness with less focus on material things.
This is significant for ourselves, but also for the people, we encounter in the wilderness.
Perhaps, they too are searching and looking for assistance in finding the strength and power found in the love and grace of the Lord.
We can be that conduit for them.
But, how do we do this?
We need to shift our focus.
How do we shift our focus?
By being more intentional in finding the strength and power of the Lord’s love and grace, and less focused on the material pieces of living.