A Lenten Catholicon

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I needed worship on Sunday. My spiritís well had run dry. My heartís joy had been depleted.

But Sunday restored my hope. There was such a hum rushing through the pews the way water seeps through cracks. We, as a family of faith, had gathered to worship, to share life, and to break bread. We, as a family of faith, lived into what I think is our best gift that we can offer to Lincoln and one of the most important in our missional identity: hospitality.

As yíall know we hosted the choir from Lincoln College. Yet I think many of you would agree that in the end, they hosted us. Their singing possessed a peacefulness that penetrated the solemnity that Lent can sometimes posses. They gave us a break from our Ďnormal routineí and they took us down to the river where we were able to drink deep from Godís goodness and mercy.

On Sunday, I believed a part of us was healed. Did you know the church can do that? Did you know that the church can heal? Did you know that the church is actually called to bring healing to the world? Did you know that you cannot only participate in this healing but also receive it?

Did you know that God wants to heal you? From whatever is troubling. From whatever burden you are carrying. From that broken heart. From the bad news you received. From the doubt that you arenít as good as your siblings. From the busy life you have taken on without knowing. From burn out. You get the point.

All of this reminds me of an interaction Jesus had at a well with a Samaritan woman. Perhaps you remember it. It is high noon and Jesus stops to get a drink of water while the disciples go ahead into the city to do what disciples do. At the well Jesus meets a woman and asks her for a drink.

From there the interactions go something like this:
Woman: You are asking me, a Samaritan, to get you, a Jew, a drink? No way.
Jesus: If you knew who I was, you would. Youíd never have to drink again, actually.
Woman: Ha! You donít even have a bucket. So please, give me this living water. (Giant eye roll!)

The interaction gets a little strange. Jesus invites/tells her to go get her husband. She canít and Jesus reveals that he knows her history. Most sermons will depict this woman as a prostitute of sorts. But this isnít necessarily the case. She is more likely widowed or abandoned, because men often did that in 1st century culture.

What happens next is a healing. The woman was made to be ashamed about who she was: not only a Samaritan woman, who was viewed as an equal to a manís donkey, but also a divorced woman. Jesus shouldnít be talking to her. She wasnít worthy of such acknowledgment.

Jesus has no interest in shaming her. Instead Jesus gazes upon her with sympathetic eyes and extends a word of hope, a word of healing. Jesus is not chastising her or calling her to account; rather he sees her; compassionately naming and understanding her circumstances.

I like what one Lutheran pastor says about this interaction:

While she came to the well to get water, now that she has met Jesus, "who told me everything I have ever done," she leaves her jar -- the token of her present difficult and dependent life -- behind to go tell others. She has, indeed, encountered living water, has been freed by her encounter with Jesus, and wants to share this living water with others.

Sunday I was the woman at the well. I was thirsty and needed my cup filled up. And it was at church, among you, brothers and sisters, that my thirst was quenched. Worship was refreshing and my spirit was renewed. That's what refreshment does for us; it renews our spirits like a cool glass of water, and moves us from scarcity to abundance in all aspects of our lives.

Friends, God wants to heal us. God sits at the well waiting for us to come. God welcomes us.

God welcomes you with open, healing arms.

My question to you is, what are you holding onto that is prevent you from being healed by God?

Name it. Then, leave it at the well.

[Adam Quine, pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Lincoln]


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