The activities and preparations of getting ready for our Lenten themed Wilderness has been quite abuzz lately. For me, to be ready for the Ash Wednesday sermon, I needed a two-hour window of time of not being distracted. I ended up at Seth’s Coffee Tuesday morning, to relax and focus. As I worked through my sermon the activity at Seth’s was the usual. Customers in, customers out. Handshakes and hugs, well wishes and laughter. But there was one table next to the window, where the sunlight was streaming through, that caught my attention. One winter coat draped on the mother’s legs and the other coat piled on a chair of the 7ish year old boy standing alongside the table. I could hear the shake, shake, shake of dice, and then the roll of the dice onto a table. I marveled at their controlled interactive play and their sharing excitement for one another as they rolled their dice. Then the son with great excitement yelled, “Yahtzee!” God’s love was alive at this playful table!
Last night I certainly could see God’s love coming to life with amazing food, fellowship, and worship. Our rooms and renovated spaces were filled up! The sanctuary was full! We ran out of bulletins and we had so many confirmation students present that we needed to make more copies of the worship notes. The prayground was active with some of our youngest coloring, rushing the front of church, dancing, and playing together too! The fellowship hall and gathering space was bursting with conversations and people welcoming one another as families united at mealtime. The kitchen was busy with our 9th grade students serving soup, washing dishes, and busing tables. We come together on these Wednesday evenings to name our “Wilderness” journeys in life. We explore God’s presence in a relational, experiential, playful, and glad-hearted gusto. Helping and caring for one another in our deepest needs.
Last year’s Lenten theme was playful around Disney & Pixar movies. This year we will be playful about life’s wilderness journey. In worship last night (and at 11 am too) we received the sustaining spiritual meal of Jesus’ body and blood in Holy Communion. We also remember God’s promise of eternal life when the ashen sign of the cross was marked on our foreheads. Ashes are used to remind us of the reality that none of us gets out of this life without returning to the dust. Let us daily take on the Lenten discipline of devoting some time dwelling in scripture, the word of the week, the devotional booklet, meditating, and praying. It is important to play with one another like a mother and her child or the coming together that Lent has to offer. The reality of the world and local news can be sobering especially when we hear about the Coronavirus, shooting deaths at Molson Coors Brewery in Milwaukee, to the recent murder of two children in Kaukauna. Let’s play a bit more with one another. Let’s fellowship with one another and ask important questions. Let’s share the depth of spiritual presence God has and desires of us and we’ll see the love of God come to life at Christ the King and in the world.
God’s Lenten Blessings & Peace,
P.S. in case you missed the Ash Wednesday sermon question from Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 here they are: