The First Vision Quest of Jesus
Our culture views abundance as having material prosperity, power, and popularity. When these things are missing, there is scarcity. But what if Jesus experienced—within the scarcity of the wilderness—an abundance found in the very absence of possessions, power, and popularity?
Bishop Steven Charleston, a Choctaw scholar who wrote The Four Vision Quests of Jesus, likens Jesus’ time in the wilderness with that of a vision quest, a journey into the wild made to encounter and be transformed by the Divine Presence. Surely, within the wilderness, Jesus met Evil, but also connected to the abundance of his identity as God’s beloved and the abundance of the Divine. Surely, when Jesus rebuffed Evil, he was not just doing what was right, but being true to this abundance.
Jesus did not throw himself off the cliff because he already knew he was the son of God. He did not bow down to Evil to get power because he despised that kind of power. He did not turn stones into bread, because he knew a fullness that has nothing to do with a full stomach.
Today, as we enter Lent, I want to begin here, with this abundance. Within you there is a deep, true, beautiful, whole self that belongs to you. God gave this self to you. Even if you have betrayed yourself 100,000,000 times for power, or pleasure, or belonging, it is still there. It cannot be marred or destroyed, because no one can take away the image of God within you. That beautiful true self is abundant.
Inside you there is this capacity for deep, true, beautiful, whole connection with the Divine. Even if you betrayed God a million times over, God is still there, with you and for you. God’s love for you cannot be touched or marred or destroyed. God’s presence is abundant, waiting for your return.
The world needs people who are deeply connected to these sources of abundance. People who are deeply attuned to their own true self and deeply attuned to the presence of God, and deeply committed to the ethics of Jesus. From this posture of abundance, we can grow in our ability to stand up with calm defiance to the economic, political, and religious powers that dehumanize people and desecrate creation.
Deep peace and blessings.
Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor of the Church at Southpoint
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Sun. Mar 13 Second Sunday of LentUnder God’s Wing Luke 13: 31-35
Sun. Mar 20 Third Sunday of Lent You Are WorthyLuke 13: 1-9
Sun. Mar 27 Fourth Sunday of LentProdigal Grace (All In service)
Luke 15: 1-3, 11b-32
Sun. Apr 3 Fifth Sunday of Lent Brazen Acts of BeautyJohn 12: 1-8
Sun. Apr 10 Palm Sunday Even the Stones Cry OutLuke 19: 28-40
Fri. Apr 15 Good Friday
Sun. Apr 17 Easter Sunday An Expansive LifeLuke 24: 1-12
Sun. Apr 24 All OUT Good Seed Sunday!
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At Southpoint, it all begins with God’s love. Just as a plant grows, it receives sunshine, so we grow as we receive God’s love. At Southpoint, we are growing in our capacity to love God, ourselves, one another, and creation.
We seek to be a community of grace that is intentional yet organic, spacious yet authentic, grace-filled yet accountable. * We are fully welcoming. *
We encourage relationships rather than run programs, yet we recognize the importance of intentionality and structure as we nurture life together.
As a community, we seek to put our love in action. We value helping out on Sunday mornings, sharing food, and showing up in hard times. We keep our church life simple so folk have time to build relationships with family, friends, and neighbours. We encourage folk to serve in tangible ways within the wider community. We rent space rather than own a building, allowing us to do more with less, supporting missions at home and abroad.
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