February 21, 2021

First Sunday of Lent, Year B
Deacon Cindy Roehl

Before I get started, I would like to thank Maureen for her Mission Moment. At the 2009 General Convention, Lent was officially designated as a time to encourage dioceses, congregations and individuals to remember and support the life-saving work of Episcopal Relief & Development. The national Episcopal church invites all of us to pray for those living in need, including the One Thousand Days of Love program.

The Episcopal Relief & Development is already jumping in to help the millions who remain without power and water in the southern states this week. As extreme weather has devastated communities in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and beyond, they are working with their local partners to provide relief and support. People who have been devastated by inclement weather, and others around the world living in poor, undernourished environments, are being helped by this organization, and are given hope.

Hope. What a great segue to a sermon, right?

So, today is the First Sunday in Lent. This special 40-day period of Lent, leading to Easter, is a unique time for us to take inventory of our lives, to commune more intimately with God, and clear out those things that may distract us from our commitment to Him. A time of transformation —a journey that finds its climax (and turning point) at Easter.

In Genesis we read about the flood – a type of baptism, if you will. Noah and his family, only eight people, get on a boat with a lot of animals. The flood comes and water covers the earth. And while the analogy of the flood is a look backward at sin, it is also a look forward – to hope. There is a fundamental shift in humanity after the flood. There is a change. These are people who have been saved, through the waters. These are people who are beloved. No matter who they are or where they go from there, the fundamental part of their identity remains that they are people who have been rescued. Full stop.

We come to Jesus’ baptism in the Gospel of Mark this morning. When John had been asked, “Are you the ‘One’? he answered that he was not the “One”, but was the messenger preparing the way for the “One”…

Read the full sermon text HERE.

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