A Little Closer to God

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
—A Collect for the First Sunday in Lent, the Book of Common Prayer, p. 218

Dear People of St. David’s,

I have a confession to make to you all. I confess that I really do not like waking up at 5 a.m. I’m definitely more of a morning person, but the physical act of waking up at that time is not so easy for me (you can probably hear me crying through this letter! Ha-ha). I’d rather wake up at 6:30 a.m. with my two dogs, take my time to make some coffee and breakfast, and get ready for the day. However, last week there were two instances in which I didn’t mind the early wake-up call.

The first instance was for our weekly Tuesday morning Bible study that takes place on Zoom at 6:30 a.m. This Bible study has been happening for a long time, and I’m the newest addition to it. In fact, I’m its new leader. Of course, I must get up at that dreaded 5 o’clock hour, but to be honest, it’s been my favorite day of the week. There is something peaceful about walking into the Chapel building while it is still dark out, turning on the lights, setting up my Bible and computer, and getting ready to study scripture with 15-20 friends from our St. David’s community. We begin with prayer, read a chapter from Exodus, have a period of discussion, and then close with prayer. There is no better way to start the day than meditating on God’s word. It energizes me for the remainder of the day, and I leave feeling like I can get so much accomplished.

Then on Wednesday morning, I had another 5 a.m. wake up call. This time I headed to the Wayne Train Station with the Rev. Emily Given to impose ashes on the foreheads of folks for Ash Wednesday. It was beautiful. We imposed ashes on probably forty-plus people. Some were parishioners of St. David’s, and some were simply commuters trying to catch their trains into Philadelphia. Although we may have been a little cold that morning, there was no better way to start the day. It was an honor and privilege to be with all those people that morning as we made the sign of the cross on their foreheads and said, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

These two events were essential to the beginning of the season of Lent for me. They helped me get a little closer to God. I wonder what might help you do the same. Is it attending our 6:30 a.m. Bible study or the five others throughout the week? Maybe it’s helping with one of our many outreach partners? That will be my prayer for all of you. That you find some new way to connect with God in these 40 days of Lent. Hopefully, it won’t require you to get up before the birds are singing.

See you all in church!


The Rev. Thomas Szczerba, Jr.
Associate Rector