March 10, 2019

1st Sunday in Lent
Becky Robbins-Penniman

Fruit salad preparation in front of the altar.

What is RENEWAL? In Psalm 51, which billions of Christians recite on Ash Wednesday, we pray: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” This verse IS our quest for Lent this year, especially a renewed, right spirit that is rebuilt and strengthened to be steadfast and strong, able to withstand the storms of life, and with faith that God is accompanying us in the whirlwinds and trials. Not only accompanying us, but is ALREADY giving us whatever we need to make our faith journey with integrity, true to who we are created to be.

In Lamentations, we hear the cry of a truly forlorn person: their city has been ruined by a foreign army; friends and families have been ripped apart, some by death, some by capture, some by fleeing as refugees, and some, like this one, left and alone, abandoned. Once again, today’s headlines in a 3,000 year old book. Where is God in the storm? Where? All is in ruin!

How to be steadfast? We learn from both Lamentations and the Psalm, the first step is to be quiet, to stop reciting the horrible things that have gone wrong, and just wait. Then, in the stillness, we count our blessings from the past.

Read the full sermon text HERE.