Lent will soon arrive. On March 1 Ash Wednesday invites us to a “Holy Fast” to prepare for what is to come six weeks later. As Episcopalians we cherish these weeks of preparation not because we suffer from the deprivation of our usual comforts but because it is a time to take advantage of reflective time, intentional spirituality and education. There is a richness to Lent, like tilling the fields, preparing the garden, and looking forward to a growing season.
Last year, our Diocesan clergy led the presentations. This year it’s your turn. Oh, I know, there are moans and groans: “how can I do this?” “I don’t know enough and besides I’m scared to speak in public.”
I’m here to help, guide and support your efforts. It’s actually very simple and by drawing on your particular interests, all of us will be interested.
Here’s how it will go. Six volunteers will choose a Wednesday. The topic is: Christianity and Daily Living. Choose a favorite activity and describe how it fits your own spiritual life. Does it “speak” to you? Does it uplift you? Does it calm you down? Does it energize you?
And here are some activities: travel, gardening, volunteering, a hobby, exercise, culinary arts, reading, praying, walking, music, and many others. Why do you like your choice? What does it do for you?
I’ll lead a discussion open to everyone about the meaningfulness of that particular choice. What does the Bible have to say about it (if anything.) How does it touch all of us? We’ll have a discussion and then adjourn for lunch.
So take a little risk and speak with your friends about what is important to you. Bring a drawing, a favorite plant, needlework, canvas, book or something to illustrate your interest. You’ll surprise yourself about how passionate you are about this important work and you’ll inspire us with your conviction.
I can’t really explain it, but when the year begins anew, I like cleaning out, organizing and throwing out. I feel motivated to address the feeling that my possessions own me instead of the other way round. It’s the cabinets, the garage, the containers, the attic, the under bed storage, the backs of the closets, the trunk of the car and other subtle hiding places that are daring me to take them on and clean them out.
Perhaps it’s that the beginning of a new year is a kind of starting over. It may be that with limited out door activities, I see more clearly the amount of stuff that takes over the house. And, I’d like to believe that it’s a matter of stewardship and conscious control over all that I have.
So, the garage comes first, then the containers and so on. Each year I make some progress. Every year begins with good intentions and then I slide downhill from there.
Is there a theology of possessions? Well, yes. We are told about the things in our lives that control us. We are told about the lilies of the fields and that their simple existence is loved by God. We are warned about the love of things and building grand houses on sand, worshiping at jeweled temples and so on.
Have I made my case? Anyway, simple living is commendable and healthy because it makes time and space for us to consider and enjoy simplicity for its’ own sake.
A recently published book titled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” has become quite popular. If you look around Charleston and its environs you will see that as part of the rapid expansion has been the construction of numerous storage facilities. They’re there to help us hide and store the surplus in our lives that we don’t really want to give up. It’s like living like a snail with your house on your back. It’s a burden and it slows us down.
The author of the book, Marie Kondo says that our possessions very accurately relate the history of the decisions we have made in life (pg. 177.) She relates that as the mountain of things diminishes we feel better, more in control, and actually happier. There’s much less to worry about and less to look after. Giving things away, tidying up, opens the door to new experiences and new opportunities because we have more space, mental, physical, and spiritual to enjoy them.
So, welcome to the New Year, a year of lightness, flexibility and openness. We will surely have more room for our faith, our hope and more charity too. God bless us all!
Rev. Paul Gilbert
Church Phone - 843-631-5040
Mission Council phone numbers:
Betsy Daise, Senior Warden 202.222.5651
George Hayworth, Junior Warden 843.889.5678
Emilie Cox 803.682.2965
Harriet Gettys 843.869.1329
Brooks Goldsmith 803.320.1189
Taylor Skardon 843.754.4494
Michele Skripps 843.631.1389
Elizabeth Galaida - Music Director and Administrator - 843.631.1115
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