Weekly Reflection - 3/1/2022
St. Mary's Reflection: Mike Stafford, Interim Associate Minister
On Wednesday Christians begin the 40-day journey of Lent with the observance of Ash Wednesday. We start by journeying with Jesus into the wilderness at the start of his ministry, and we end Lent by journeying with him into Jerusalem, to the cross, and to the empty tomb on Easter Sunday. Of course, any journey requires preparation, and that is what Lent is meant for: during Lent we are tasked with preparing ourselves for Easter by doing our part to realign ourselves with God. Of course, it’s not just the season of Lent when this can happen, but it is a season set aside for “self-examination and repentance;... prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and… reading and meditating on God’s holy Word” (BCP p.265). It is a sacred and thoroughly worthwhile journey.
Last August I began a journey of my own. Vinny, a friend of Margaret’s and mine from college, wrote a letter to a broad group of friends and family with a big request: Vinny has Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), and he needed a new kidney. His letter sat with me for weeks before I had a moment of clarity that I could offer him one of my kidneys. I reached out to him and his wife, and we began that journey together.
Many blood tests and examinations later, it turns out that my kidney is a match for him, so the surgery is set to proceed in three weeks (March 23). The journey has not and will not be easy, but the direction has always been clear: In John’s gospel Jesus says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” As a follower of Jesus, I have the opportunity to share life, so I am taking it. I will be at church until March 20, and then I will be away from St. Mary’s on March 27 and April 3 for the surgery and recovery, and will see you all again on Palm Sunday. Your prayers for Vinny, for me, and for all who suffer from disease are appreciated.
God’s gift of abundant life flows unceasingly, and as we journey with Jesus through this season of Lent let us find new and surprising ways to channel that flow of life and love into the world.