What I Notice
I recently started working out again. I go through seasons of running or working out regularly and then I take breaks. I have lots of good excuses I tell myself in those seasons of not being as active…but that’s really all they are…just excuses. Other things take my time and attention, things that I think are priority float to the top of my to do list and caring for my health takes a back seat.
Though, this is what I am reminded every time I start working out again. It is painful, I am sore, and I notice all the areas I am weak, all the areas I am not giving attention to, and all the areas that need to be addressed and cared for. I have this idea that when I start working out, when I intentionally focus on my health, everything will just suddenly get better. Like the day I hit the gym, everything is better. But I actually notice all the problems. It isn’t that things get worse…I just become aware of them. Right now, it is my legs. They are so sore I feel like I can barely walk…but you know what they say…never skip leg day.
I’ve noticed something else.
Over the past 6 weeks, I have been thinking about the season of Lent. A season where we reflect, a season where we fast, a season where we are refined, a season where we intentionally turn our eyes to Jesus. There is an easy assumption that during Lent everything will be easier. That when I am in a time of reflection and refinement, with my eyes fixed on Jesus my troubles will just go away and my spiritual life and everything around me will just suddenly get better. Like the day I start Lent, everything is better. But that isn’t the case at all. It turns out when we slow down, when we reflect, when we allow ourselves to be refined…we start to see the areas we normally gloss over.
I notice the ares of hurt and pain. I notice areas where I am weak in my own life, areas that need to be addressed and cared for…but it isn’t just my life I become painfully aware of…it is the hurt and pain in the world too.
We can all admit that there are some serious issues in our world. Between tornados devastating communities, the atrocities against our young, vulnerable, and innocent, and countless other problems in the world both known and hidden, both near and far…we are sore, we are hurting, and there are areas that need to be addressed.
I don’t pretend to have the right answers. I think there are likely lots of things that should be done to help bring hope and healing to a broken world.
The one thing I do know, is in this season of Lent, with my heart and mind turned towards Jesus, these situations aren’t just distant stories I see on the news, but God’s people experiencing real hurt and pain. When we pray to have the eyes of Jesus, to see as he sees, to have what breaks his heart break ours too…it cuts deeper.
Names and faces get associated with the hurt and pain.
It’s no longer news stories, but people.
It’s no longer issues or crises, but humans.
The good news in the midst of horrible situations, broken hearts, desperate for solutions, our savior is with us.
This Sunday we begin Holy Week.
A week we set apart from other weeks. A week that begins with celebration and ends with celebration. But over the course of the week, there are high highs and unbelievably low lows.
If you blow past this week and just skip to Easter, it is lovely, I get it. Though journeying through the hurt and pain of the week reminds us that our Savior is with us in the midst of our own hurt and pain. He has experienced what we’ve experienced.
So I invite you to join us this Holy Week. Join us for Palm Sunday, for Maundy Thursday, for Good Friday, and for Easter Sunday. Join us as we journey with Jesus through the dusty streets of Jerusalem. Join us as we traverse the hills and valleys with our savior. Join us as we see and are reminded of the hurt and pain he and his followers experienced. Join us as we see that that story isn’t some out dated fable in an irrelevant book, but something that is real, familiar, and has impact on our lives in real ways.
I know there is insurmountable hurt and pain in this world. I know there are things that can cripple us and make us wonder “why” and “how”. I know there are a myriad of solutions and ways to respond. I also know there is a Savior that we should cling to, a Messiah we should trust in, a Rabbi we should learn from, and a High Priest who restores our relationship.
Following Jesus shouldn’t disconnect us from the pain in the world, it shouldn’t cause us to turn a blind eye to reality or ignore very real problems. It should cause us to see humans as created in the image of God existing in a world of pain and do something about it.
When our hearts are turned to Jesus, we can’t do nothing.
No other week reminds us quite as clearly that the darkness hasn’t won as this week. No other week reminds us that things can get so horrific and yet God is still on the throne as this week.
No other week illustrates that this is not the end as this week.
As we turn our hearts, let us be reminded that the darkness will be driven out by the light.
We can have lots of good excuses to tell ourselves in these seasons of hurt and pain to not engage in our faith…but in the end, that’s really all they are…just excuses. Let these seasons be the moments we engage, we trust, and we follow after Jesus.
Turn your hearts this week and let the light shine in.
A few things you need to know about this next week.
- This Sunday is Palm Sunday and it is also the first Sunday of the month. We’ll share in communion at 9am at a short communion service, about 15 minutes total.
- We’ll still have our normal worship service at 10am. This Sunday we’ll have our kids parade through at the top of the service with palms so we can remember what happened 2000 years ago.
- Our Kids Church from 5 year olds thru 5th grade meets at the Seaside Neighborhood School. This week, we’ll have them check in at the Chapel and then “parade” over to the school. You can pick them up at the school after worship. They must be checked in to attend kids church.
- Thursday we will have a Maundy Thursday Service at 6pm at The Chapel. This is a service where we remember Jesus sharing his last supper with his disciples and commanding them to share this meal with one another. The call is to remember Jesus every time we gather with others over bread and wine and know that Christ is with us.
- Friday we will have a Good Friday Service at 6pm at The Chapel. This is the service where we remember Jesus’ death. It is a dark and difficult service, but it is a vital service for us to be able to celebrate Easter. We are particularly excited about the music at the Good Friday Service.
- Sunday we will have 3 Easter Services. 6am sunrise service on the beach in Seaside and an 8:30am and 10am service at The Chapel. The Sunrise service will be accessible through the Coleman Pavilion. That is the iconic Seaside pavilion with the large white obelisk. We invite you to bring your beach blanket or chairs and worship with us as we watch the sunrise to illuminate the darkness. This one can obviously accommodate the most amount of people and so it is a lovely one to attend if you can. The 8:30 is historically the lowest attended service, so if you are looking to avoid crowds, that is likely your best bet. We will have a tent outside the Chapel for the 8:30 and the 10am service. So you can sit inside the Chapel, in the grove area, or on the lawn under the tent.
- For the Easter/Lent resources, go to thechapelatseaside.com/easter.
Parking this week will be challenging, but don’t let that be a deterrent. During the week, starting this Sunday, many of the streets in Seaside will be shut down to curb traffic, but don’t give up hope.
You have a few options to make it go easily.
- Park at Seaside/Watercolor Public Parking-On the west end of Seaside and east end of Watercolor just off of 30A is free public parking. 20 Western Lake Dr, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. It is a short walk down 30A or up through the neighborhood to get to The Chapel and it’s free.
- Grayton Parking and Shuttle-Seaside Shuttle runs about every 15 minutes and picks up from the public parking lot on 283 South, directly across from the Shops of Grayton located in Grayton Beach from 6 a.m. to midnight. Park in the lower lot, drop guests off under the Lyceum Archway in the center of Seaside.
- Paid Parking-Seaside’s new parking program uses a parking app called Passport Parking. Parking rates will vary by day/time. For more information about parking in Seaside, check out their post from seasidefl.com
Please let us know if if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you Sunday and throughout the week.