God’s call to the rough places

Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones, Kathryn Carroll, Ruth Frey, Summerlee Staten

Close up of textured yellow stained glass window at Trinity Church Wall Street

We’re approaching the first Sunday of Lent 2021. I know — in some ways it feels as though we never emerged from Lent 2020. But as the readings for this Sunday illustrate, God has been present in all of humanity’s ordeals since, well, forever — even when the stories indicate that God imposed, or at least allowed, them to happen in order to make a point. It is that point which continues to be hotly contested. Is it about God’s power or plan? Is it about sin, suffering, and salvation? Whose? Jesus’? Humanity’s? Ours, individually? And then we’re back to why? Why does anyone have to suffer? 

I’m not convinced that the synoptic Gospel writers were in consensus about any of this either. In Matthew and Luke, Jesus was led into the wilderness. But in Mark, “the Spirit drove him out into the wilderness.” Somehow it seems more comforting to think that Jesus went voluntarily, with purpose, or to discover a purpose. For him to be coerced in any way implies that he might have been reluctant. And the day before this, Jesus was baptized and the same Spirit was heard saying, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” So now this whole sequence of events is sounding less like a holy, mystical vision quest and more like a parent’s tough love. God’s call to the rough places could be either, for me, depending on the day. 

Each Lent, our liturgy and churches invite us into six weeks of reflection — which often include choices of some voluntary fasting, spiritual practice, and alms giving — which we call a metaphoric wilderness. Since last Lent, it got real. We’ve had to redefine “freedom” and “control” and yet we still long for it. What would happen if we let that go and allowed ourselves to be led by the Spirit?

Peace be with you, 


Kathryn Carroll
Program Manager
Children and Family Formation


Children’s Time

Sundays at 10am | Online

Join us for Children’s Time on Zoom. We’ll start with a brief opening assembly together and then, each week, children can choose from two different breakout groups.

Godly Play (Preschool and older)
Story: The Faces of Easter 1
Response Time: Drawing and collage materials

Whole People of God (2nd Grade and older)
Lesson Theme: Let It Go
Activities: 40 video, Bury the Alleluia

Register to join on Zoom, if you haven’t already.



Psalm for the Wilderness
Sundays at 10am | Online

The Season of Lent leads us through changing, and sometimes challenging, spiritual landscapes. Through the close examination of several beautiful and beloved examples, this Bible study will consider how the superlative Hebrew poetry of the Psalms might accompany us and enrich our journeys. For the first four Sundays of Lent, join Mother Beth Blunt and Summerlee Staten, Executive Director of Faith Formation & Education, in exploring the nature, history, and import of this pivotal collection. During the last week, parishioner and poet Chester Johnson will discuss his work on the drafting committee for the retranslation of the Psalms contained in the current Book of Common Prayer.

Learn more and register to join.


Spiritual Resources