West Chelmsford United Methodist Church
Saturday, February 06, 2016

My car had been straining to start for about two weeks. It always started, but it was clear that the battery was having to work pretty hard to make it happen. I knew my battery was reaching the end of its useful life, and I needed to buy another one. The problem was, I didn’t have time. There were so many other things I needed to do in early January, and getting a new battery for my car wasn’t on my “to-do” list. Yet I found myself wondering each time I got in my car, “Will it start?” And then, two Saturdays ago, I got my final answer: it wouldn’t start. I turned the key, there was a weak, whimpering groan from the car, and then nothing. Of course, that morning it was raining hard and I soon found myself with the hood up, jump-starting my car from another car, and getting soaking wet in the process. The end to this woeful tale is that I went and bought a new battery that morning, I was home in an hour, and I haven’t had any battery trouble ever since.
I learned several valuable lessons in that situation. The first is one I need to learn over and over again: no problem was ever solved by putting it off. Had I gone ahead and replaced my battery when I noticed it was straining, I would have saved myself from worrying every time I turned the key. Not to mention, I would have avoided having to replace the battery at an unexpected time in the pouring rain.
The second lesson I learned came as I reflected on what it is to be without the power you need. I thought of our faith, and how we believe that the Holy Spirit empowers us to live faithfully each day. But the power we receive is affected by our relationship with God. We can drift far away from God without realizing it, just as my battery had slowly drained down over the years. Soon, the power to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ can be hard to come by.
The way we renew that relationship, (and re-charge our spiritual battery), is through the time-honored disciplines of the faith: prayer, scripture reading, and worship with God’s community, the church. It is no mystery, but we can make it into one, avoiding those things and making excuses for ourselves.
I can’t promise a one hour solution as was the case with my car battery. But there’s no better time to begin than now during the upcoming season of Lent. Just as I know there will be cold days when I will need a strong car battery, I also know there will be challenging days for us all when we will need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Lent is a good a time to re-charge our spiritual batteries.
Reverend Mack