FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT | FEBRUARY 21, 2021
From Pastor Pat
The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else's cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God - if they call God at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody.
That's what I think.
-- Maya Angelou
We have something in common with Noah right now. We sure could use a good Rainbow. This Sunday’s scripture puts us squarely aboard that ancient boat.
We are like the sons and daughters of that ancient patriarch, with his floating menagerie. The rains have turned to showers, but it’s still overcast. After living through the storms of 2020 that have lingered into this year, all of us are desperate for a sign -- any sign -- that says the clouds will lift and the sun will shine through again.
Signs are not only important, but they are potent, too. In this first bible story that children love, after 40 days, Noah began to fear that terra firma – the land where he and his creatures and family could put down an anchor, might be covered forever with the flood. And since he couldn’t see over the horizon, he recruited a passenger that could -- a dove. He opened the door and let her fly. But shortly thereafter she returned to the ark, for she had found no place to set down. So Noah did something we’re all familiar with right now: He waited, patiently, still longer. And then in a week he sent the dove out again. Later that day she returned, but THIS time she brought Noah in her beak a sprig from an olive tree. And he knew from that sprig that the flood was receding and there was dry land ahead. To this very day the olive branch and the dove are potent signs to humanity that there is reason to hope, that a place of peace lies just ahead if we work toward it. We might note that even the Presidential Seal has this symbolism within it. The eagle substitutes for the dove in this case, but he faces an olive branch he clutches in one talon, rather than the arrows of war that he holds in the other.
Right now we are still passengers on the ark of uncertainty, still looking at the flood waters and still fearful that the pestilence of COVID-19 might be floating nearby. The struggle to find a route to receive the vaccine is daunting. But now the clouds are thinning. Last week I was finally able to receive my first vaccine at a local hospital. After the injection everyone must wait there for 15 minutes. I had time to look around and think. I realized that the shot I received was like an olive branch of hope. As I looked around at the people being vaccinated, they were smiling, perhaps for the first time in a while. These were people who spontaneously expressed their gratitude to the hospital workers. Of course, not everybody on the “ark” has received their “olive branch” yet. It makes sense that the elderly and ill go first, along with the people who have to help others leave the ark. But It will happen for everyone, with patience and persistence.
Today, as the sky brightens, I sense a Rainbow coming on. – Pastor Pat Kriss
The Forty Days of Lent Just Ahead
We’ll spend time these next weeks giving people some helpful -- and beautiful -- tools for praying and connecting with God and traveling with Jesus. This week and the next, we will explore Christian meditation. Reverend Frank Basler will join us on February 28 to teach us about mindfulness meditation. And then, art works as prayer. Stay tuned in!
Our "Ash-less Wednesday" service will be presented live on Facebook at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17.
You may also view the replay at the same link at a date and time that is more convenient for you.
Ash-Less Wednesday is an online interfaith service of music and prayers that will help you prepare for your Lenten journey. This service will focus on what you can build up, and less on what has been destroyed.
Please have a small dish of olive oil at hand for self-anointing.
Deer Hill Thrift Shop Is Open!
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First Congregational Church of Danbury
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810