For the First Sunday in Lent
By Jason Lillis, Coordinator of Family Life Ministry

In an auspicious beginning to the season of Lent, one of the first things we hear about is God’s epilogue to an apocalypse. We are no strangers to flooding, but clearly nothing along the order of magnitude that comes for what beset the world in the days of Noah. Our own days are not without their apocalypses – a hurricane Katrina or an Indonesian tsunami can devastate entire lands with such a press of water that unless one survives it, it’s reality can scarcely be imagined.

Yet even without the wreck of wind and water, our lives are not without mini-apocalypses. The loss of home, work, and – most devastatingly – a close-held beloved can enter into life and destroy in ways we never foresee.

So it is with some foreboding – after hearing the story of the flood – that the lectionary moves us into Paul’s reminder of our own baptismal covenant. To think that each of us who have been submersed in these waters share the calling – and fate – of Noah: to go forth into a world – made clean by God’s grace – to view what has become of the world we once knew.

That covenant – and the new reality accompanying it – is not panacea; we are not promised freedom from trial or tribulation – we are promised freedom from complete and total ruin only, and there can be a long road from here to there. What then becomes of our covenant? It becomes not an inflatable tube for pools or beaches, but the boat that saves you – when you didn’t know how to build a boat. The covenant of faith does not call us to ease and comfort, but to a richer “texture” of life and whole-ness.

If you are looking for fellow companions to journey with you this Lenten season, I invite you to join the ministries of fellowship and faith formation available through the office of Family Life Ministry here at St. Francis of Assisi. You can learn more by visiting http://bit.ly/SFAFamilyLife, or give me a call at 847-8205 x244.