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The Rev. Meredith Holt Crigler | Trinity Episcopal Church, Baytown

A Selection of Sermons:


Feb 21, 2021

 Again & again, we find ourselves in wilderness. Shivering and thirsty and weary. This is not the fast that we would choose— we have been driven out into this wilderness. 

After the week that we have had, after the ‘year’ we have had, after the political, and epidemiological and meteorological storms driving us again and again into the wilderness, it is important to acknowledge and name the weight of a weary year’s worth of collective trauma. We have trauma bodies, and trauma brain, and probably traumatized spirits. And when trauma —individually and collectively — continues:

  • our muscle memory shifts and our bodies remember as the tolls are paid again & again,
  • And, our neural pathways realign favoring that reptilian fight or flight base over the critical thinking and emotionally present front and we are unable to listen well to one another and to God
  • And, our spirits wander in the wilderness: grumbling, crying out, tempted to pack our bags and go (back to Egypt), angry at those people who put us in this position, like Jonah, needing a moment to sit down cause ‘we’re done,’ like Elijah, or perhaps numb ourselves till we’re ashamed like Noah. Like the imperfect faithful throughout our scriptures: we mess up again and doubt again and fear again and regress again and the story of our sin repeats. Again & again suffering and brokenness find us. This is all true.


God meets us in the wilderness with grace. Again & again throughout the scriptures and our lives God meets us in our broken weariness reminding us and proclaiming to us that we are Beloved. So Beloved— so loved that God’s son, God’s Beloved Jesus Christ saves us and redeems us and reconciles, and invites us to live transformed lives of grace— even in the midst of the wilderness. 

In our gospel for today from Mark we here in quick succession of Jesus’ baptism, his time in the wilderness, and the start of his ministry “proclaiming the good news of God.” We hear it all in the matter of a few verses. For Mark, unlike for Luke and Matthew, the focus is not on temptation or even the Adversary — Jesus shows his complete power in binding the strong forces that are not of God later— rather the focus is on the words of God and wilderness. As Jesus rises from the waters and before he is driven into the wilderness, he hears God proclaim to him his identity, his worth, his being, his name: Beloved. 

As scripture reminds us names are powerful. And I hope— especially now— that you know that  you are beloved.

I want to share with you a poetic blessing that I shared online yesterday that comes from Jan Richardson, it is called “Beloved is Where We Begin.” These are Jan’s words and I hope that they speak to your body, mind and soul: 

Click for Jan Richardson's poetic blessing: Beloved is Where We Begin from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

Again & again, I hope that you listen and internalize and know that you are Beloved. And, one of the ways that we start to heal our traumatized bodies, brains and spirit is through healthy rituals and repetition and refrains that remind us of our belovedness. And that is what I hope for you this Lent.  That whatever we let go, or take on, or be mindful or us leads us the wilderness where again &  again, God meets us and reminds us of our belovedness.

I pray that our disciplines and habits and embodied practices and mindfulness this Lent start build and heal and transform our muscle memory, neural pathways, and songs in our soul until we fully know who we are: Beloved.