Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lent and Spring

It’s Spring around here. The trees are blooming; pollen in on all our cars giving them a yellow tint. And, the temperature outside is a round 80 something for a high. Last Sunday we met Jesus with Nicodemus at night. In the darkness, Nicodemus an enlightened teacher of all things spiritual comes to meet Jesus. Nicodemus is nearly blinded by the light of Mr. Light of the World.

And, we worked on John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.” This verse is followed by: “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world…”

We, many of us, know these words by heart. People hold up signs at ball games with: John 3:16. Martin Luther says it is the Gospel in miniature.

This week at church we are dealing with air conditioning problems. After a warm Sunday, I asked that the heat be turned over to air on Monday. The air is working my building and office but is not working in the office building. Turns out that lightning struck a line to the compressor last fall. The AC people who had our contract then assumed they would still be with us in 2012 and did not inform us of this. They thought they could fix it in the spring but they lost their contract with us. The new people discovered the problem and we are working on insurance coverage, which shouldn’t be a problem. However, in the meantime, our people are hot in this old building. And, as we preachers say: “Sunday’s coming…” They tell us it will be fixed by Friday.

All this calls to mind something that happened to me at Clemson UMC. A wonderful young couple was to be married in the sanctuary, the old sanctuary which has not a window that will open.

On Friday around noon, I went into the sanctuary to see if all was well. The AC was running but it was hot as blue blazes. My first thought was: “Oh no; how can I tell the bride and worse, her mother, that we don’t have any AC.” I had been fussing about getting the unit replaced for the sanctuary, but we had put it off.

I had a meeting with the bride and mother and told them the problem. The Episcopal Church, which was new next door, had agreed to let us use their place. No, said the bride, I grew up in this church and I’m going to get married in this church, no matter what. Her father was in construction and had some huge fans and put them in the sanctuary. I said that night: “When you marry one of our daughters, we get you in here and crank up the heat, to see if you’ll go through with it…” It was a lovely wedding.

Lent and Spring bring warm weather and pollen. It’s all good. But, we remember that Jesus’ Lent didn’t go all that well either. For him, it meant the cross which he gladly bore for us.

During this Season of Lent, we’ve been trying to enter in to Jesus’ suffering and it’s meaning. We have been with Jesus as he told us: “I’m going to Jerusalem to suffer rand die….” We have been with Jesus as he stormed the Temple running out moneychangers. We were with Nicodemus in the night looking for Jesus, Mr. Light.

In a little while, Lent will move into Holy Week and the Last Supper and Good Friday. It’s hot outside; experience the warmth of God’s love for the whole world. The whole world.

Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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