Rector's Chronicle

“He said this simply and clearly so they couldn’t miss it.”
- Mark 8:32 (The Message translation)

Jesus taught profound truths in simple ways.

At a time when we crave basic connection and relationship, more and more church leaders use complicated messages and methods to dazzle or impress. I admit I sometimes fall for it. Whether it is the novelty of a new service or a preacher using big words in long, twisted sermons, I can find myself wondering if they know something I don’t. And then I sit quietly in the Chapel of Saint Jude at Noonday Prayer or confess my sins while kneeling in the quietness of the nave and I remember how beautiful simple really is.

This Lent, I’m going back to basics: simple living; simple eating; simple praying. To live simply is hard. At least it is for me. It requires discipline and mindfulness. It also demands that I say no more often than I say yes. No to that book everyone is reading about some new theory on  theology. No to that fancy coffee with just the right amount of foamy goodness on top. No to that new pair of shoes I don’t really need. No to those practices that don’t point me toward God. No to those things that don’t ground me in Christ.

The goal, of course, is to eliminate the unnecessary and the unwanted to make room for Jesus. If I can let go of ideas or practices that consume precious time and resources, I will have more energy to devote to the one who is most worthy of my time and attention. Essentially, by eliminating I create space. And that space is precious - not just to me but those who rely on me to be grounded in God’s love.

If you would like to join me this Lent in living simply, let me know. I’ll be posting on Instagram and Facebook little reminders of my challenge to say no more often than I say yes. Use #SimplyLent and we can do this together. I will find strength in knowing there are others with me on this 40 day journey. And I will pray for all of us that as we make space in our hearts and souls and minds Jesus will fill us with his love. If that isn’t a profound truth taught in a simple way, I don’t know what is.


The Reverend Elizabeth B. Gardner
Assistant to the Rector