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Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Message

February 2010

Our Lenten Journey

 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any want to become my followers,

 let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Matthew 16:24

 Dear Friends,

On Ash Wednesday, February 17, we shall commence our forty-day Lenten journey, following Jesus into the wilderness, then to Jerusalem and the cross.  It was a lonely journey for the Master, with the intensity of his loneliness captured by the American Spiritual:

               Jesus walked this lonesome valley. He had to walk it by Himself;

               O, nobody else could walk it for him, he had to walk it by himself.

In this one event—Jesus’ lonely journey—lies all the hope of every generation since then until now.  By this desolate journey of our Savior, we know that God hears our riveting cries of loneliness and identifies with our personal agony.  Even though we are perpetually surrounded by caring people, nobody can actually feel our pain, or suffer our losses, or die our deaths in our place.  Yet God in Christ, on his way to the cross, has preceded us in all of these isolated paths.   One might even make the case that God had tasted loneliness even before his creating the universe.    

 

And God stepped out on space

And He looked around and said,

“I’m lonely—

I’ll make me a world.”

 

With His head in His hands,

God thought and thought,

Till He thought: I’ll make me a man! 1

If there is any truth in James Weldon Johnson’s description of the Creation, God himself was lonely, so lonely, it seems, that he decided to create the world and everything it in, including human beings to keep him company.  If God was lonely, why would we—created in God’s image—be surprised that loneliness is an inescapable element in our human nature!  In point of fact, it is precisely this insatiate loneliness that drives us into a mystical union with God.  Our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee, O God, cries Augustine.

Soon we’ll begin our Lenten journey.  It is one we’ll take together—collectively as a community of faith—yet at the heart of the excursion, we shall be looking deep within ourselves to the very depths of our individual being, searching for a well-spring of strength to walk this lonesome valley and to ultimately endure the loathsome cross.  

In these forty days, may God grant us new meaning for the mystery of life and strength for the mastery of life!

 

Affectionately yours,
Calvin C. Wilson
Interim Pastor

 

 1 James Weldon Johnson, God’s Trombones, The Creation, stanza 1 and 10