Proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ
From the Bishop: Lent 2017

March 1st, 2017

bishop

Lent 2017

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

 – The Collect from the Fifth Sunday in Lent

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ –

 

I recently read a scientific explanation for the phenomena that human beings experience the passage of time as moving more and more swiftly as we age. The gist of the explanation for this had to do with the cumulative time a human spends on earth. When we’ve only lived ten years, the passage of an eleventh year comprises (nearly) 10% of the time we’ve been alive, and so feels to us like a substantially bigger deal than the passage of a year at age fifty, when 365 days is equal to only 1/50 of our lifetime. While I am surely not doing justice to the well-reasoned explanation that I read about why “time flies,” I hope you’ll take some re-assurance from the fact that virtually everybody has the shared sense of time moving at increasing speed over the course of a human life…and that there are smart people out there who can explain to us exactly why this is the case!

The season of Lent offers an invitation to disciples the world over to slow down in the midst of the “swift and varied changes of the world” and to adjust our pattern of living to help us lead lives of greater intention, deliberation and faithfulness. Too often we’re merely reactive to the highs and lows of a given moment, and so find ourselves swept along by forces that are out of our control and by events over which we have little influence. It would seem that this is particularly the case for many of the folks in our Church and in our world right now.

As followers of Jesus we need not be unsettled or undone by life’s trials. While it may be true that we are quite limited in how much we can actually control our lives, it is within our power to determine how we will respond to what life brings us. And our chief means of so doing is to constantly turn towards Christ in our lives, and to let the assurance of his graceful presence be our moment-to-moment guide. Jesus himself models this way of being in the story of his temptation in the wilderness, where rather than seek to control the dangerous situation in which he finds himself (by fighting back or running away for instance) he simply keeps his heart and mind fixed on God’s presence and companionship, feeding back to the evil one only the words that God gives him to speak.

As you work and pray your way through Lent, I hope you’ll keep the story of Christ’s wilderness temptation in mind. We don’t take on the various disciplines of this season so much to take control over our lives, but rather, to live in such a way that we are called constantly back to the reality that we are never alone. Despite our “unruly wills and affections” and despite all the “swift and varied changes of the world”, it is within our power to fix our hearts on Jesus Christ, and so by setting him as our guiding star, to find true joy no matter what trial or temptation the world might throw in our way.

Welcome to the season of Lent my brothers and sisters in Christ. May you keep it well and holy.

 

Faithfully Yours in Christ –

+ Bishop Barker


Be sure to like us on Facebook, to see even more: https://www.facebook.com/dionebraska/


Latest Update

Environmental Stewardship – Praying the Earth’s News: March 23, 2017 (3/24/2017)

We pray this week for people affected by floods and fires that have been made worse by warmer global temperatures, and we pray for our planet and the future of the human race as warming takes us into “uncharted territory”. Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth you made us.... Read Full Article

 

Recent Updates

(See Index/Archive at the top right of this page for all articles.)

The Eggplant: March 23, 2017 – Spoiler Alert (3/24/2017)

  *Spoiler Alert: The following Eggplant contains spoilers for Kong: Skull Island (2017), Godzilla (2014), the Revelation to John of Patmos (~95), the good movies of M. Night Shyamalan (1999 and 2000), and Holy Week (~33). For those who don’t spend time in the geekier corners of the internet,.... Read Full Article

In memoriam: Jon W. Nelson (3/19/2017)

Former Diocesan Stewardship director Jon Nelson died recently in Estes Park where he and his wife Bev had lived for a number of years and where their son Tory owns and manages a restaurant.  In his shirt pocket in the days before he died, the prayer list he kept literally at his side.   Jon.... Read Full Article

The Prayer of St. Patrick (3/15/2017)

The Prayer of Saint Patrick I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through a belief in the Threeness, Through confession of the Oneness Of the Creator of creation. I arise today Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism, Through the strength of His.... Read Full Article

Poetry Corner: To Keep a True Lent – Robert Herrick (3/8/2017)

To Keep a True Lent Is this a Fast, to keep The Larder lean? And clean From fat of veals and sheep? Is it to quit the dish Of flesh, yet still To fill The platter high with fish? Is it to fast an hour, Or ragg’d go, Or show A down-cast look and sour? […] Read Full Article

Greetings from Sandra Squires, United Thank Offering Board President (3/3/2017)

It is that time of year when many of you prepare for your parish UTO In-gatherings, and I thank you for that. The images to the left give you some ideas about how people have promoted UTO. It is with gratitude and sadness that I share with you that Kathy Graham has resigned from the […] Read Full Article

From the Bishop: Lent 2017 (3/1/2017)

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through.... Read Full Article

The Eggplant: Lend Me Your Ears (2/27/2017)

The Eggplant: February 23, 2017 – Lend Me Your Ears   When I was in Seminary, one of the lessons repeated in many classes and contexts was that to be a good pastor is to be a good listener. As a priest, both members of your parish and others will often tell you about things going.... Read Full Article

Five Marks of Love – Free Lenten Offering from SSJE (2/20/2017)

The Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastic community, is offering “Five Marks of Love” as a free individual or group Lenten devotional. Below is their invitation, including a link to the materials:   This six-week series invites us to observe and reflect on the.... Read Full Article

Ask a Priest – What is the “Prosperity Gospel?” (2/14/2017)

  The basic idea of the Prosperity Gospel is found in scripture: “If you follow in my ways, I will prosper you.” For example, in the Book of 1 Kings 3:14, God says to Solomon in a dream, “if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father.... Read Full Article

First-Plymouth Choir Sings Compline at Trinity Cathedral Feb. 19 (2/10/2017)

The Schola Cantorum of First-Plymouth Church, Lincoln, Nebraska, will sing the office of Compline at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Omaha on Sunday, February 19, at 7:00 p.m. The congregation will gather by candlelight as the 18-voice choir sings chants and ancient settings of psalms and evening.... Read Full Article

Featured Sermon: Rev. Charles Peek – Sermon for Recovery Eucharist (2/4/2017)

Sermon for Recovery Eucharist and Commemoration of Father Samuel Shoemaker by the Reverend Charles Peek Preached January 31st, 2017, Trinity Cathedral, Omaha There are people who shy away from AA because they think it seems too religious. Welcome to the Episcopal Church where we seldom make the.... Read Full Article

Can Monasticism Save a Post-Christian World? (2/4/2017)

Brother James Dowd to Speak at St. Cecilia Cathedral Lecture Series, February 23rd Throughout much of the history of Christianity, the church has often turned to monasticism when times became particularly tough either because Empires were ravaging their people or because Empires where falling apart,.... Read Full Article

New Feature: The Eggplant -by The Rev. John Adams (1/27/2017)

The Eggplant: January 26, 2017 Eastern Nerd and Western Priest by The Rev. John Adams   Greetings, Nebraska Episcopalians! At the request of our illustrious editor, I am inaugurating a new monthly (or something close thereto) column for The Nebraska Episcopalian. Depending on the season, this.... Read Full Article

Featured Sermon: “In Christ There Is No East Nor West…” (1/23/2017)

Sermon from 1-22-2017, Epiphany 3A Preached by the Rev Benedict Varnum at St Augustine of Canterbury in Elkhorn, NE   Have you had any conversations about unity and division this past week?   There’s a great hymn, In Christ There is No East nor West — Hymn 529 in the Hymnal in.... Read Full Article

Prayers for our nation (1/19/2017)

For Our Nation: Almighty God, you have given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech you that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of your favor and glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord,.... Read Full Article

(See Index/Archive at the top right of this page for all articles.)

Print Friendly