A message from Fr. Geoff
Your heart is, no doubt, aching as miserably as mine over the dreadful event in Parkland Florida. During our Ash Wednesday observance we embraced a deep mystery, in that we are formed by a loving Creator out of mere dust; that, after an earthly life our bodies ultimately return to the same.
The unique reality of Wednesday also being Valentine’s Day may seem an odd interruption on the surface; and, yet it served to me a gentle reminder that we were formed from dust for a reason – to love, and to be loved. Jesus is an incarnation of that love, having walked with us, die for us, and give us assurance that death does not have the final word.
As it turned out, the real interruption to Wednesday’s spiritual journey came in the form of incarnate evil. It came by way of a murderous act; a hateful dashing of innocence, and a rude reminder of how closely operative evil can be. It is a painful testament that, in the course of a life in which we are to love and be loved, we have mighty obstacles requiring us to band together as faith family in solidarity.
The intention of Ash Wednesday is to bid us all observe a Holy Lent, a time of self-examination, fasting, and prayer. That has not changed. We embark on a forty-day journey together to prepare for an Easter Feast and live fully into the Paschal Mystery. That too has not changed. In that journey we solemnly observe Jesus’ own passion, death and resurrection; and through penitence we find pardon and absolution of our grievous trespass. This also has not changed.
What is changed, in the end, is us – that when we are subjected to evils such as this, and many more like it, we be inspired to faithfully act. We become changed when we take specific action to aid our community in confronting the very evils that culminate in an event such as Parkland – and there are many tragic factors.
We, at St. Christopher’s are intentionally moving forward with such plans - bringing to bear specific ministry in our City to address at-risk youth, curtail opioid influence, strengthen family, enable education, confront bullies, and promote conditions that bring opportunity to the downtrodden and reduce violence.
It takes great courage to rise above the standard harsh platitudes and be genuine Christ-Bearers. That is the hallmark of our patron saint, the courage that I know we have as a family, and the standard to which we strive.
I bid you a Holy Lent. I deeply encourage you to worship together this Sunday as a worthy start. We will pray, we will gather around God’s table as one body, and we go forth into the mission field as bearers of steadfast love – the love of Christ.