Gift of Lent
We Invite You to God’s Chosen Fast
Matthew 25 Initiative
Anglican Relief and
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free…
to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn”
of the Trinity Mission
Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church
Posted on: Thursday, February 15, 2018
“Is not this the fast that I choose… to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
There are few burdens so heavy and so difficult to explain as the loss of a child before he or she ever takes a breath. Yet, one in four women will suffer a known miscarriage or stillbirth.
Six years ago, James and Stephanie Robledo were excitedly making space in their home and hearts for a new baby, when misgivings sent them to their doctor for a checkup. They remember the blur of faint hope, fear, and confusion until the doctor soberly announced, “You’ve lost the baby.”
Anyone who has heard those words knows the momentary inability to make sense of them, or to receive other well-meaning comments like, “These things happen,” or “You can try again.” As James and Stephanie were sharing their pain with another couple, they began wondering aloud: What could offer real comfort? What could begin to loosen the straps of the yoke and free families from the oppression of unexpressed grief?
From those conversations, they joined together in David’s Hope Pregnancy Loss Ministry. David’s Hope began by helping families acknowledge that in a miscarriage, parents have suffered the loss of a life and of a particular hope. Through the gift of “memory boxes,” which contain a Certificate of Life along with small gifts, the ministry provides tools to make concrete the often unnamed and unarticulated hope that has been cut short. Like a fear that has been named and lost its terror, this concretizing of grief is a way to begin healing.
Through the boxes, David’s Hope has become known for understanding this unique loss and connecting families with the One who knows and heals every hurt. When they could be enjoying entertainment or relaxing on a weekend, these Redeemer parishioners pour out their lives, time, and resources to provide counseling, visit hospitals, conduct memorials, and share wisdom with pastors who feel inadequate to comfort their grieving parishioners. They are living the fast, undoing the straps of the yoke.
The Rev. Aaron Damiani
Posted on: Friday, March 16, 2018
Each Friday, we will feature a passage from The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent by Aaron Damiani, rector of Immanuel Anglican Church in Chicago. The book provides a historical, theological, and practical introduction into the season of Lent. Woody Allen is quoted as saying, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” The same is true when it comes to showing generosity in Lent. Generosity does not start with a transfer of funds. That is likely only to reinforce feelings of inferiority and shame of the recipient as well as a savior complex of the giver. Generosity in the name of Jesus starts with our personal presence, which allows us to see our neighbors who might otherwise be invisible to us. John Ortberg calls this “the proximity factor.” So much comes down to where we spend our time. “Allow yourself to see need,” Ortberg writes, “and eventually you’ll want to help. Maintain your distance, and you probably won’t.” Where do you generally hang out? What roads do you take to work? Which restaurants do you frequent, which parks do you visit, and which neighbors do you notice? With whom do you mingle?... For you, Lenten generosity might begin with the weekly discipline of personal presence to the people you are prone to ignore. You might consider walking around your neighborhood, with a friend or two, and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to take notice and pray for the people on your block. Or you might choose to volunteer at your local library, school, hospital, nursing home, or consignment shop. When someone asks you for money spend time talking with them. Treat them as an equal. You might even consider taking them to lunch. And if your church has a generosity fund for the needy, contribute as you’re able. Yes, this may be inconvenient. Personal presence is much costlier than simply giving money. My friends Joe and Carrie, who regularly lead mission trips to Southeast Asia, refer to this as having an “interruptible life.” Naturally, we Westerners do not appreciate interruptions. But every mundane moment that we love Christ in our neighbor is worthwhile. Adapted from The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent by Aaron Damiani (©2017). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.
Shadows of the Wanderer
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