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Tuesday Tidings March 14, 2023

Dearest Members of Bethlehem,

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

It happens every year and just about this time… there’s a still small voice within my spirit that says, “You better look at your windshield…”

I heed the warning, peer at the inspection sticker, and then realize that I have just a few weeks to take care of business. You likely have had this experience yourself.

Eventually, I make the appointment, anticipate the big day, and then take my beloved car to the mechanic. It is then that the anxiety begins. Yes, you drop your baby off and all you can do is wait. And the tension builds, because you’re dreading that phone call. “Well, Mr. Smail… I’ve got a little bit of bad news for you.” Great! Is it the brakes this time? Or, no, maybe it’s the tires? Not, the tires, then it has to be a couple of malfunctioning tail lights!

I don’t envy the young man that has to make that call. In truth, it’s not his fault that brakes wear out and the tires wear down. And at the end of the day, they’re making these recommendations in the hope that when I’m making my way, I’m as safe as I can be and… those around me are also at less risk.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a kind of spiritual component of the annual state inspection?

Oh, wait! We’re in luck, because there is! We call it the season of Lent, and during this sacred time we get to do a very important three-point inspection. How is our prayer life? Are we tending faithfully to our connection to God? How about our stewardship and self-control? Is everything in a healthy balance there, everything in “alignment,” we might say? And how about our service to those in need? Are we striking a healthy balance between caring for ourselves and caring for others? Are all systems go? Are we firing on all the spiritual cylinders?

I sure hope so, but if not… now’s the time to diagnose the issues and make the necessary repairs. Of course, this might seem like an inconvenience, but trust me, we’ll want to be in tip top shape to enjoy our journey through the Easter season.

Question for reflection: Why are state inspections mandated by law and not simply voluntary? Does your answer to that question have any spiritual or theological implications?

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dan

Gracious Lord, we pray that you would tend to our broken and contrite hearts.Heal, strengthen, and guide us as we seek to live in the light of your love and grace.We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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