Weekly Reflection

The weekly reflection can be found in the weekly email newsletter or here on the website. 

Scroll down for this week's weekly reflection. 

The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions


Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Third Sunday in Lent BCP 218)

“It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

One of the many facets of Lent is looking at our own temptations. The areas of life we know we could do better in, and regularly don't. Not that we couldn't, we can, but we let them slide, and slide they do... sliding us with them into more temptations. In C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape, a mid-level demon, writes to his nephew, Wormwood, about how best to nudge his patient downward, on his mission to turn his man from good to evil. All in all, Screwtape's advice is the gentle slope of small acts of temptation and malice which will lead away from God. 

Evil presents in so many different ways. It comes at us physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. It can be a real struggle to stay on God's path in life, especially when so many human choices seem both good and bad. We pray this coming Sunday, in true Lenten fashion, that God protects us both in body and soul from all the evil in the world. We cannot fight on our own, but with Jesus on our side, we know the war is already won. As we continue on our Lent pilgrimage, may you see the evil in the world for what it is and stand strong with Jesus.  

Oh Good Lord, Have mErcy


O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Second Sunday in Lent BCP 218)

"Oh good Lord, have mercy!" Perhaps from my time living in the south, this prayer-exclamation, said in a thousand of different ways has become part of my normal commentary on life these days. Over and over again, "Oh good Lord, have mercy," seems to fit the bill for how I feel about... well... everything.

The situation in Texas. Oh good Lord, have mercy. The continuation of the pandemic. Oh good Lord, have mercy. The death of a beloved community member. Oh good Lord, have mercy. My husband leaving his trash on the counter. Oh good Lord, have mercy. There is so much outside of our control these days and truly the best response we can have is to start praying. Oh good Lord, have mercy upon us.

Mercy, or compassion or forgiveness on someone within your realm of power, is a trademark of God's actions in this world. Thankfully God has mercy on us, despite all our mistakes, mess ups, and hurts, and we in turn share that mercy with others. God is always merciful, whether we recognize it or not. Through Jesus, God has shown us the greatest compassion, forgiveness, and mercy in redeeming love. While we grieve the losses of life from last week's crisis in Texas, the 500,000 plus people who have died from COVID-19, and our beloved Francis, God wraps us with mercy. 

Jesus was tempted as we are


Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (First Sunday in Lent BCP 218)

Coming into this year's Lent, I think we are all a little bit more aware of our own temptations and weaknesses. We know how much we long, desire, need to have certain small things in our lives that we have been trying to do without for quite a while. I am reminded of a web comic I saw (https://xkcd.com/2419/) which has a graph of hug counts by year. The alt-text reads "I've never been that big of a hug person, but it turns out I'm not quite this small of a hug person either." Meaning, even the author of the comic, a nerdy physicist, has recognized his need for more hugs after this past year.

Thankfully, whatever temptations and weaknesses we are dealing with in our lives, Jesus is right by our side. Jesus walked through the wilderness and was tempted by Satan with all the food, power, and adoration he could ever want. Yet, Jesus knew the difference between what Satan was offering him and what God was offering him. Jesus knew how hard it could be to hold off on desires for a good cause.

Our temptations and weaknesses are just another area which shows us how much we can depend on God. When we recognize those places in our lives and invite Jesus into them, we are given gifts and strength beyond our own capacity. God is indeed mighty to save and through Jesus can save us from any temptation, weakness, or trouble we find ourselves in. As we begin this Lent season, let us invite Jesus into our places of longing, to be with us and help us.