February 16, 2018
Dear Saint Anselm’s,
The old English word which we hear as ‘lent’ meant springtime. There is hope for the weather (changeable as it is!). And there is hope for us (fickle as we are). The season of Lent has just begun. It's not too late to jump in with both feet, entering it fully. There's plenty of opportunity here in our parish to pray, give, discipline ourselves; to learn, reach out, and love. Lent is a training ground for Christians. I often call it a 40-day retreat. You could also call it boot camp.
In this tough, often tragic old world of humans (consider the reason our flag is again at half mast and no more need be said), we need to be shocked into reconnection with God and with one another. Again and again all our lives converting more deeply into true humans by coming closer to the true God: that's what it's all about.
This first Sunday's Collect expresses our intention today. Pray it often this week:
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.
Yours in the hope of springtime,
February 9, 2018
Dear Saint Anselm’s,
This Sunday, the final before Lent begins, is Transfiguration Sunday. Each year on this Sunday we hear a Gospel version of the moment when Jesus went up the mountain with Peter and the brothers James and John and was transfigured in their sight.
‘Transfiguration’ is a word we rarely use outside church or outside this Sunday. This is, as you will hear, a moment of revelation and of transformation. I believe the day poses before us two related questions that we should not be quick to answer with assurance.
The questions are these:
 Do I believe in revelation? That is, do I believe that God has made known to us saving truths that we would not know if God had not spoken? Something is revealed and confirmed about Jesus in the transfiguration Gospel. What is it? And, if I accept the reality of revelation, what is revealed to me today by God that I need to know for my good now and into eternity? Do I believe in revelation? And am I listening for what God is saying?
 What is transfiguration? What was that for Jesus as the Gospel recounts it today and as the Apostles witnessed it? And what is transfiguration for us? A combination of ‘transformation’ and ‘revelation’ may be a good starter to define ‘transfiguration.’ So, what kind of change is God saying needs to happen in me, in my way of life, in who I deeply am?
Those are this Sunday’s questions. Think about them and pray over them. They set us up well for the invitation into Lent beginning this next Wednesday, with its own set of questions, challenges, and opportunities for renewal.
A last word: this stuff is real. And ultimately more important than anything happening in business, politics, government or anywhere else. How’s that for radical? If you don’t believe that, Lent is coming with its power to open our eyes again to the best truths of our lives.
Yours in Christ Jesus,