February 21, 2021
Music Director- Michael Reilly
Lector- Rich Changus
Message- “Treasure” Lent by Rev. Wendy Komori Stager
Each of us is created a precious and holy vessel of embodied love. We have been through a harrowing time since last Lent that has shattered our sense of wholeness–body, mind, and spirit–like a glass vessel fractured into pieces. Let us enter a Lenten “season of recovery” as we focus on Jesus, the Healer of our every ill.
Beach glass begins as something whole and yet discarded. As it is tumbled by the sea, it is broken and polished until it becomes a treasured “mineral gem.” We do not embrace that suffering is necessary or God-given, but that suffering is a part of life. When pain comes and brokenness enters our lives, Jesus reaches out to touch and remind us of the Treasure that we all are–worthy of new life in the midst of hopelessness. In a year when pandemic has wreaked havoc on our world, we begin by affirming our journey to physical health.
Opening Prayer of Confession
Lent developed into a season of intense inward reflection and confession centuries after the life of Jesus. Yet, as we will see, Jesus encouraged people to open up about their lives–to speak truth–no matter how broken. This is the beginning of compassion for ourselves and others. It is the beginning of healing. The Latin origins of the word “confess” is to “study and acknowledge.” This will be a season of studying how we can be a healing presence in our community. To do this, we acknowledge our need to restore our own Holy Vessels.
We are bodies fashioned by your hand in your own image,
shapes and colors of diverse and immense beauty.
And yet too often we have ignored the sacred nature of our physical lives.
The Holy Vessels you have fashioned are tired and suffering,
ravaged by months of disrupted rhythms and ailment.
Our fragility has come into full view and we are frightened.
We cannot fathom the proportions of loss and so we look away,
sometimes even from our own needs.
Help us, Healer.
Show us our strength.
Forgive our inertia.
Move us to move
one step at a time toward greater care.
In this silence, we sense and acknowledge our yearning for wholeness.
I invite you to feel a warmth begin to arise within the core of your body. It may help to keep your eyes closed. Imagine a warm orb of light deep within you. This warm glow begins to emerge from the recesses of your inner being to fill and flood your whole body until your skin is glowing with it, radiating outward. You are surrounded by light. Feel this warmth wrap you as a blanket of assurance.
Know this: God’s love and grace surround you…
No. Matter. What.
You are a precious and holy vessel right now.
Christ’s light is a treasure given freely.
For you, for me, for all.
Take a deep breath in to let this truth fill you…
and breathe out with the relief of assurance.
“True wisdom is like an ocean; the deeper you go the greater the treasures you'll find.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo
Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself.
–– Walter Anderson
Some people spend so much time hunting treasure that they fail to see it all around them. It's like sifting through gold to find the silt.
–– Richard Paul Evans
It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.
–– Joseph Campbell
Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.
An Ancient Word
Matthew 8: 1-4; 16-17
When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”