From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 3rd Sunday in Lent

Hi everyone,

Don’t you just love Daylight Saving time?  Don’t you just love losing that one hour of sleep for reasons really unbeknownst to most of those who lose that hour?  Don’t you just love waking up at the same time a yesterday, but for some strange reason it’s still dark outside?

Yeah, I don’t either.

But such is life.  Last night (or this morning, as it were), much of North America had to turn their clocks forward an hour, effectively throwing off our internal clocks and sleep schedules.  And with this, comes a barrage of complaints over social media of how observing Daylight Saving (which is the correct term, “daylight savings is incorrect… look it up) is actually more harmful than it is helpful.

There are studies and statistics showing an increase in car accidents and heart attacks from losing that one hour, and a decrease in work productivity (I admit that even writing this up has taken me longer than usual).  I also read that it is against the law to not change your clocks, and is punishable is jail time.  Pretty extreme, if you asked me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my fair share of complaining too.  I just think it’s funny that one lost hour could be such a nuisance.  We get it back in the fall too, in case you forget.  Why doesn’t anyone complain about gaining an hour?

Anyway, here are the readings for next week:
Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11
John 4:5-42

“Is the Lord among us or not?”  Interesting question asked by the Israelites in our first reading.  I mean, hasn’t God proved God’s presence among them a few times over in the past little while?  You know, the whole being freed from slavery thing, that little incident at the Red Sea where the waters split apart just enough for them to walk through, and not to mention that time when mysterious but delicious bread fell from the sky.  But in their current situation of thirst, the Israelites forgot about all of that and questioned their position in God’s good graces.

While I know that water is important for life, and dying of thirst would be a horrible way to go, it seems almost too quick to me that the Israelites would turn on God, blaming God for their current predicament.  We might do that too, when we are suffering from a loss of a loved one, a difficult time in our lives, or just an hour less of sleep, we quickly forget all the ways in which God has shown us care, continues to care for us, and the hope in God always showing care for us.

The woman at the well that Jesus encounters had it bad too.  She suffered the loss of five husbands, likely from death or unjust divorce.  She was likely the victim of abuse, oppression, and being taken advantage of.  If anyone had a reason to complain about something, it would be her.

Yet Jesus, crossing all cultural taboos, approaches her and treats her with dignity.  Moses, while annoyed at the grumbling, miraculously provides for their needs.  God, in ways we cannot understand, loves us and gives us water of eternal life.

In our complaining, in our losses, in our need for a sign of God’s presence with us, God enters into our lives, pushes aside hardship and calamity and reminds us that we are indeed loved and cherished.  That while we will still have rough patches in our lives, we belong to God and are a part of this world which God so loves.

Take heart, everyone.  It is impossible for any life circumstance to drop us out of God’s love.  So whenever we may question God’s presence in our lives, the answer will always be yes, God is present.  Wholly, unequivocally, unbelievably yes.  In all the good and bad times, yes.

God.  Is.  With.  Us.

Have a great week, everyone.

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