Dear People of Trinity Church,
Grace and peace to you at the start of this Lenten season. This is one of my favorite seasons of the church year because it’s a time set apart specifically for penitence and reflection, and the readings, the music, and the liturgy help with that penitence. I have always found, ever since I was a little girl, that living into this season, specifically through spiritual disciplines, draws me closer to God and to my fellow members of the Body of Christ, the Church. Being reminded of my mortality helps me, in turn, feel more connected to God and all of God’s creation.
This Lenten season, there is an opportunity for you, on Sunday mornings at 9:30am, to learn more about spiritual disciplines, those actions that Jesus practiced in his own earthly life. I’ve titled the Adult study, “Becoming Like Jesus: Practicing the Christian Disciplines,” because my hope is that in learning more about those things Jesus practiced, including fasting, prayer, and solitude, we can in turn practice and be enriched by them in our own lives. I have come to believe that going to church on Sundays and feeling “good to go” for the week is not enough for this life of following Jesus. Our own practices of faith, whether in the solitude of our homes or amongst a community of believers, must be deepened, as well.
We heard in the Gospel of Matthew a few Sundays back that we are to “Be perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect.” Spiritual disciplines will not make us perfect Christians. Indeed, I believe none of us will be perfect in this lifetime. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23); however, we can and should seek to grow into a deeper understanding of and a closer relationship with our Lord. The hope is that the closer we are to God, the more we will be drawn into His love for us and for all creation. The more we are enveloped in His love, the more we will live it out in our very lives.
As Quaker theologian and author David Elton Trueblood wrote, “The great problems of our time are not technological, for these we handle fairly well. They are not even political or economic because the difficulties in these areas, glaring as they may be, are largely derivative. The greatest problems are moral and spiritual, and unless we can make some progress in these realms, we may not even survive.”
Come join us, during this Lenten season, to learn, to study, to practice, and to grow into the Christian disciplines. I pray that this season for you is one of meaningful worship and strengthening discipline, as we all seek to grow more fully into our relationship with God and with one another.
The Rev. Rachel Rickenbaker