Thoughts from the Pastor...

by Pastor Jeffrey M. Halenza

An author has pointed out that the French have a beautiful word for something each of us needs today: ressourcement.

You do not need to know French to understand what the word means. It speaks of returning to a source, drawing on its depths and richness, being refreshed and renewed. Spiritual, emotional, even mental drought comes unless we reach into profound sources for ressourcement.

What wise people down through the centuries have taught us is that such sources do not reside within ourselves. We cannot go it alone. To rely on ourselves as the source of our faith and hope and strength, to try to provide our own spiritual nutrients, is to discover not a flowing stream or spring but a stagnant pond or a well soon dried up. The sources are outside ourselves.

Builders of many of the old churches that still dot the landscape tried to express this in wood and stone and glass. They built sanctuaries — not “worship centers” or auditoriums or theaters — because for them the source of all true refreshment was the protecting power of the Lord of life. They were places to which people could retreat and connect again with the divine source of life.

Such sanctuaries need not be church buildings, however. They are any place or spot you have discovered where you can stop and rest for a moment and which for some reason have the power to put you in touch again with the inexhaustible love of God and lift you out of yourself and give you hope. They are holy places because for a time you are in the presence of God and have drawn from a source of life inexhaustible.

For many years one sanctuary for me was a broken-down wreck of a chair in our den. It was finally replaced only after years of spousal discussion. I would often retreat to that chair and read — novels, mainly — and I would forget myself, and what I was reading and the chair itself and the presence I felt there became a wonderful source. I would also retreat to our screened-in porch to read, but mostly to look out at the trees and sky and birds and listen. Now, at our new home, it is the deck that is my sanctuary.

And this is what the Season of Lent is about: ressourcement. It’s about setting aside the time to return to the source of our life and hope and faith, to turn back to God, allow God to refresh us and feed us.

It is meant to be a time during which each of us would find our way to a sanctuary and draw on the depths and richness of God’s love for us in Christ and find new hope and strength and joy in the protecting power of the Lord of Life.


                                                                                                                                                     God be with you,