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Blessings to you, Glen Morris,

I wanted to thank you for graciously letting me lead worship and bearing through our technical difficulties. I like to think life has this funny way of never going according to plan, but when you are surrounded by an understanding community, things always get back on track. I wish to extend a special thank you to Lynn and the AV team for stepping up, and of course, the rest of you who happily switched to the hymnals so I wouldn’t end up singing by myself.

I find the lectionary this time of year  always points us to the Beatitudes and other teachings from the Sermon on the Mount. There is so much to dig into that, as a couple of you told me on Sunday: you could do an entire sermon series on the beatitudes! I plan to keep that idea in my back pocket, but I hope that my sermon helped you meditate on Jesus’ teachings throughout the week. I feel the readings we get in this part of the year are meant to prepare us for introspection as we enter Lent.

By turning our attention to the people Jesus tells us will inherit God’s Kingdom, it gives us the opportunity to see how we are or are not living into these ideals. It draws our attention to the fact that we are loved for who we are, but our actions, or lack of actions can be a failure to live into our best lives as Christ followers. Lent comes into our lives during winter, where the days are still full of darkness, but the light of day is gradually taking over. In time the warmer weather will be here with days full of sun. The winter slumber of the land reflects the slumber of death Christ undergoes and we undergo as we recognize our shortcomings and ask for spiritual strength to overcome them. Then, as Spring arrives and the land revives around us, much like how Christ is raised, we are reminded that we too are saved by God’s outpouring of grace.

That grace calls us to act, and the acts we are called are those of the Beatitudes: emptying ourselves to accept we are stronger with God, and striving for a world that is just.

Which brings me to my closing thought: Lent is coming! Check out the information in this week’s newsletter about Seeking: Honest Questions for deeper faith - a lenten devotional I am organizing. Hope you can join, even if you’re traveling abroad!


Yours in Christ,

Jayden Escalante-Jones