March 4 – Second Sunday in Lent

Good morning everyone!  Hopefully you can do something today to enjoy a “mini Easter.”

Today’s scripture:Mark 8:31-35 (NRSV)

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’  He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel,* will save it.

 Today at the CoOp we are continuing our Pruning them with pruning our daily lives in order to prune with each other.  So this consists of really two things: how we prune in our daily  lives (and why) and being in community.  Our lives get so busy with things that we are trying to better it with that we forget we are supposed to be living with one another.  Community is essential to Jesus’ ministry.  Community is essential to God.  In fact, we try to connect in so many different ways it feels a bit chaotic and at times trapped in our devices.  This morning in worship I will be showing the first 1:15 minute of this clip.  If you are coming to worship you may not want to watch it yet….. And if you aren’t coming to worship I would advise watching but only the first 1:15 minute (after that it gets a bit weird).
This clip from Portlandia really highlights the spiral that we can easily get into when we are caught up in “needing” to do all of these things.  I would argue that it goes even beyond that.  I know that in my mind on a daily basis I am trying to balance out hours of work, when to workout, how to connect to others by email, text, facebook, etc, at the same time I want to read during the day, catch up with someone else, spend some intentional time in prayer and on the side pick up my mandolin or violin, learn how to do some yoga, work in my garden….I would love to research more and write more…and the list goes on.  You can see the danger. And I don’t even have kiddos!  That’s a whole new level of activity.
So how can we actually prune back in our daily lives to make room for reconnecting with God and spending some intentional time in community? That is the challenge that we are talking about today.  And perhaps it won’t be solved today but spend a moment to just breathe and think about what needs to be pruned today….
Prayer: O God, our lives are hectic with wonderful things that take up far too much energy from you.  Empower us to prune back a few of those things to see outside of ourselves.  Amen.

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