A young-ish United Methodist pastor's perspective of living our faith, loving God, and loving neighbor while on this adventure we call life. Amazing things can happen when we put our trust in God, love God, love our neighbors, and engage our community by living our faith.
**The opinions expressed in my blog are my own and not those of Community UMC, Quincy, CA or The United Methodist Church.
This Lent has been a wondrous time of slowing down, reflecting, fasting, and praying, a new adventure in going deeper spiritually and mentally. The Daniel Fast has been a mental test considering I love food, but am finding meaning in it in focusing my mind towards God and imagining the Hebrew people in the desert in the exodus from Egypt while being provided with just enough. I think of those who don't have enough to eat, knowing that many would love to have just the basics of fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts. And while giving up coffee and any other drink than just water, I think of those who may not have clean water to drink. It really gets me thinking more about what I have as opposed to what I don't have, given how easy it is to take things for granted. Although it's also easy to get caught up in what you do have as well. Even some conversations I've had this week have been humbling too.
While doing something renewing in visiting a couple of art galle…
Although we are still at the edge of the wilderness and still relatively fresh into our Lenten journey, it has already been filled with challenges and things to think about. But it has also been full of some surprises too. Adopting spiritual and life practices during Lent are an important part of the journey, especially when facing temptations and such while in the wilderness. That's what can make giving something up all the more difficult. This year, I decided to give up Facebook and social media, but at the last minute decided to also give up meat and dairy (except fish) by doing a Daniel Fast with one of my friends. While it sounds extreme to give up both, it gives me more time to contemplate, to feel what those who may not have enough to eat go through, but also cleanse myself and re-fill myself with wholeness and new vitality. But shopping is such a challenge, meaning avoid the snack aisle and the seasonal aisle!! Talk about temptation right there. Just as Jesus faced…
4:1-13 (NRSV) The Temptation of Jesus 4 Jesus, full of the Holy
Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2 where
for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those
days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3 The
devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a
loaf of bread.” 4 Jesus answered him, “It is
written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”5 Then
the devil[a] led
him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And
the devil[b] said
to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been
given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7 If
you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus
answered him, “It is written,‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’”9 Then the
him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him,
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down …
Whenever I fly back to CA from Washington, DC or from anywhere for that matter, I LOVE taking pictures from the plane. I'm sure I get a few puzzled looks, but I love looking at the landscape and the clouds outside while seated (not always so comfortably) inside the plane. As we begin the journey of Lent this Wednesday, looking at our own lives from the inside out is essential as part of our faith journey. It is a time of examining who we are, reaching deep into our core then working our way back out as we die to our old selves as we reach towards the hope and promise of resurrection on Easter. While Lent can be seen as a time of repentance, it is a time of going deeper spiritually and a time of seeing where we can improve and grow closer to God, even if it means walking that lonesome valley with Jesus.
Lent is also typically a time of giving something up, or adding something. As I have been contemplating what I want to give up to help me become closer to God, I have decided…