In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.
How often in our lives do we abandon the present because of its discomfort or difficulty and end up missing the whole point of life. That is exactly what the Israelites were doing in the above scripture. In Exodus 2:23 The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and here remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. How quickly we forget past discomfort! We all handle discomfort badly. We are no different that those early Israelites. We will let faulty memories take over which will then pull us out of the present and into the past where we can recreate our stories and pacify our hearts with fantasy. We can also rush through the difficult present to the future and allow our hopes and dreams to disconnect us from the present moment. Either way, we then become our own savior and our own judge. We will deflect any of the responsibility of our own personal actions that might have contributed to our current discomfort and we blind our senses to the things God might be trying to teach us. We often take over for God and forget that our one task is to have faith in His providence and love for us. We too often begin to complain and turn ugly to ourselves and toward others, including God.We have bought into the lie that life is supposed to be easy and if we work hard enough it will be. That is not at all the case for most people. God has called us to work along side Him in the stewardship of this world we live in and we are to endure what comes with the gift of working alongside of Him. The only way to do that is to practice staying fully present in all things. You could almost insert the wedding vows people often take…be present in having, or not having, for better times or worse times, in richness or in poverty, in sickness or in health and stay fully present until death do us part. Pretty tough vows yet so worth working towards, for in this life we must endure many things and finish the race as He has asked us to do.
Father, even as I write these words, I find myself shrinking back, afraid that I am not strong enough to make it to the end. As those thoughts enter my brain, I hear your spirit gently telling me to breathe and take just one moment at a time. You are more than enough for me and if you are with me, I can do anything you ask me to do. Help me begin again and to just practice paying attention no matter the circumstances that my surround me or the ones that I love. Thank you, Father, for loving me no matter what!
The Lenten season is 40 days in which the church reflects on the life and death of Jesus. At The Park we are beginning a series on the book of Philippians. The Apostle Paul is writing to the church at Philippi from a prison cell, unsure of whether he is going to be sentenced to death or not. He realizes that his life could end, but instead of responding in fear, he responds with joy and with hope. In just four chapters, Paul mentions joy or rejoicing sixteen times. With the full expectation of his death, he is filled with joy. We want this season of Lent to be one where together we are not just meditating on the things of God, but one where we are practicing them together. In order to help with this, we have created this Lent Guide that includes mediations, prayers, and some practices for us to do together. Some of these practices involve a sacrifice of giving something up. Some of them require us to give blessings to others rather than ourselves. We pray this guide will be a tool for you to fully experience this season. To view a digital copy of the Lent guide and see upcoming services during the Lenten season you can click here.
20th-21st // Men’s Retreat
Join the men of The Park Friday, March 20th 6:30pm – 9pm and Saturday, March 21st 8:00am-12pm for a men’s retreat. Friday will consist of BBQ and worship at the home of Scott Austin, and Saturday morning will be a formation workshop at the Impact Guild. Registration is $20 for dinner Friday and breakfast Saturday morning. To register you can click here. Don’t wait, space is limited and you wont want to miss out on this time together!
Men’s Monthly Prayer Nights
The men’s prayer group for Midtown meets on the third Thursday of the month and the Mac Terrace group meets on the third Friday of the month. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To receive more information from a parish pastor, you can click here.