Blog|The Rev. Canon Mark Stanger
Dear people of Grace Cathedral,
I was moved by the Rev. Canon Jude Harmon’s reflection at the 8:30 am Holy Eucharist last Sunday as the words of Jesus which Deacon Miguel had proclaimed from Matthew’s gospel were still echoing in the Chapel of Grace: Love your enemies. Jude’s insights into the present Russia-Ukraine sadness referenced decisions world leaders have made over the decades, wondering how the words of Jesus put into action might have ameliorated this and other situations. Positively, he gave the example of a leader giving the “enemy” real choices –– an “out,” if you will –– to lessen tensions rather than inflame them.
Each choice we make contributes either to the world’s pain and hurt or to the world’s progress and healing. Jude’s sermon made me remember this moment in the 1969 film “The Lion in Winter”.
We are each invited to join with the universal community of Christians in a springtime of renewal, reflection, regeneration, restoration and reconciliation. Called the “fasting time” (Fastenzeit) in German, or in several languages, the “forty time” (cuadragésima/cuaresma in Spanish; quaresima in Italian; carême in French), English-speakers know it simply as Lent: a lengthening (of daylight hours), a slower and more deliberate rendering (like lento in musical notation). While naming it lent might be dodging our task (fasting) or its duration (forty days), it could be the clue and cue to our embrace of this time: longer moments of reflection, slower reactivity to annoyances, more deliberate encounters with God, with our deepest self, and in our relationships. Joy has been a theme of Malcolm, our Dean: “Serve with joy” and “reimagining church with courage, joy and wonder.” The Episcopal church’s 1979 Book of Common Prayer gives a primary motive for our praising and thanking God in Lent: “You bid your faithful people cleanse their hearts and prepare with joy for the Paschal (Easter) feast.” Why? The anticipated outcome is pretty wonderful: that we “may come to the fullness of grace which you have prepared for those who love you.”
How about some Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) pancakes after the 11 am Choral Eucharist this Sunday to give thanks for the love and abundance in our lives? Lent begins on Ash Wednesday which falls this year on March 2. Together, let’s go long on love during these longer days of spring’s approach.
For the love of God can’t we love one another just a little?
That’s how peace begins.
We have so much to love each other for.
We have such possibilities, my children.
We could change the world.
––Elinore of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter
The Rev. Canon Mark E. Stanger
Interim Executive Pastor
P.S. Our hearts go out to everyone touched by the war in Ukraine. Have courage, because God is near. Watch on #MoreGoodNews on YouTube today!