My hope and prayer for all is that we had a transformative Lent growing in our relationship with Christ.
A&HT has been blessed to have two different Lenten offerings: first, we had an all encompassing study of the Book of Job, and second, we prayerfully considered our body, mind, and spirit integration as we went “Walking with Christ,” via our Parish Health Ministry offering. I certainly grew in my spiritual understanding of Job through re-reading that sacred Scripture, as well as through sharing my experience of suffering and redemption during an adult forum. At the time of this writing the Job Organ Concert has not yet occurred, but I know my heart will be moved as I attend this musical gift. Through the “Walking with Christ” spiritual exercise I was able to more fully integrate my body, spirit, and mind and recognize that while those three are different aspects of me, they all connect to Eric being one and the same. I drank more water, walked more steps, and mindfully ate more fruit, and most days I did so with grace. In short, Lent has provided me a time of spiritual renewal. I confess to having past Lenten experiences feel like a season to simply endure, to get through one more time. This Lent was different for me, and I am uncertain whether to attribute that difference to where I am spiritually post-sabbatical, the gift of getting away with my family over Spring Break since it was not over Holy Week this year, or the spiritual opportunities through A&HT. What about you? Have you experienced spiritual renewal as we prepare to celebrate the Resurrection? This question is not meant judgmentally at all; it is helpful reflecting to see where we were and where we are today. Some days I struggle to avoid backsliding, while others I feel a forward progress. More often than not, though, I am doing my best to live each day, fully accepting what comes my way while looking and listening for the Christ in others.
Per tradition, our Vestry prayerfully chose two ministries to designate for our Easter Offering. This year’s recipients, “Matthew 25 Ministries” and “Relay for Life” were pretty straightforward for Vestry. “Matthew 25” is located in Blue Ash, and it touches millions of lives through emergency assistance all over the world. Many parishioners actively minister there, because it is family friendly. “Relay” was equally as easy to offer because A&HT parishioners have been touched by cancer, time and again. Mary Lynn Roca and Terry Kessler introduced “Relay” to us several years ago. Mary Lynn lost her beloved Greg, and has been forever touched through this organization. Terry lived through cancer for many, many years until last summer when he walked from this life into life eternal. Whether you knew Terry or Greg, all of us know someone affected by the ravages of cancer. “Relay” does more than raise funding; “Relay” raises hope, and we need hope more today than ever.
As you reflect back on your Lenten experiences I encourage you to consider giving to A&HT’s 2019 Easter Offering. Our offering will be evenly split between the two ministries, and both are well worthwhile. Additionally, I encourage you to consider ways you might grow with Christ this Eastertide.
Before Spring Break I chose to up my daily spiritual practice to include, “The Bible Challenge: Read the Bible in a Year,” by Marek Zabriskie. The church did this spiritual practice a few years ago, but I felt like it was time for a refresher. What about you? How might all of us connect with God in new and deeper ways so that we can help make connections with God in the world around us? I bid you a joy-filled and holy Eastertide as we celebrate the gift of the Resurrected Lord, alive and well in our midst this day!
In God’s Grace, Eric L. Miller+ Rector