Sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Lent & 174th Annual Meeting of St. Thomas’s Parish

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“But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father…”

The Fourth Sunday in Lent is known as Refreshment or Lighten Up Sunday in the church world. It is a little beyond the halfway point of our journey with Jesus and the disciples to Jerusalem … to the power base of the Temple and the Roman world … to reveal God’s TRUE kingdom come on earth plans … to an end that no one expected, except Jesus. I was reminded in another reading that this is also known as Mothering Sunday in which pilgrims would return to the “mother church” for time of reunion, renewal, and feasting.

For me, Lighten Up is less about telling numerous bad church jokes and more about lightening our spiritual loads we carry, still. To come home to God and Jesus in the loving place desired from our very creation, and not in abject guilt, remorse, or shame. Repentance is simply turning round right again, or as the Prodigal of today’s Gospel, “But when he came to himself …” which could be translated as when he came to his right mind and was restored to sanity.

It seems a good thing that this is the day of our 174th Annual Meeting of St. Thomas’s Parish. A day for this family of God to come home, to refresh, renew, and be in relationship with one another again and with our loving creative God.

Let us come home, together.

See the sermon in its entirety.

The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.

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