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Sunday, February 21, 2021

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Dear St. Luke family,

On the First Sunday in Lent, we always journey into the wilderness with Jesus.  The wilderness temptation story appears in Matthew, Mark and Luke, with different details.  At Bible study this past week, someone reminded us of an exercise one of your former pastors led, showing you a clip from the movie, The Princess Bride.  The pastor then asked people to tell what they saw and what they remembered.  As you might expect, people remembered different details, and remembered the same details differently.  That’s why we have four gospels: Different writers wrote to different audiences with different concerns and priorities and remembering different details.  Rather than trying to force these accounts to be consistent, we deal with each story as the writer told it, with its own rich lessons for our faith.

In all three Gospel accounts, Jesus goes straight from his baptism, where he hears that he is God’s beloved son, to the wilderness.  There, his identity as God’s beloved is tested.  Is being God’s beloved son enough?  Is he enough?

Aren’t most of the times we feel tested or tempted those times when we are faced with that same question?  Is being a beloved child of God enough?  Am I enough?

As we begin our Lenten journey, I offer this prayerful poem by Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace:

Beloved Is Where We Begin

If you would enter
into the wilderness,
do not begin
without a blessing.

Do not leave
without hearing
who you are:
Beloved,
named by the One
who has traveled this path
before you.

Do not go
without letting it echo
in your ears,
and if you find
it is hard
to let it into your heart,
do not despair.
That is what
this journey is for.

I cannot promise
this blessing will free you
from danger,
from fear,
from hunger
or thirst,
from the scorching
of sun
or the fall
of the night.

But I can tell you
that on this path
there will be help.

I can tell you
that on this way
there will be rest.

I can tell you
that you will know
the strange graces
that come to our aid
only on a road
such as this,
that fly to meet us
bearing comfort
and strength,
that come alongside us
for no other cause
than to lean themselves
toward our ear
and with their
curious insistence
whisper our name:

Beloved.
Beloved.
Beloved.

Grace and peace,
Joanne Whitt
Interim Pastor

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