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Quieting the Noise - A Maundy Thursday Reflection from Rev. Florentino "Tino" Cordova


We call it spiritual practice because it does take practice to see the spiritual in all we do and see. Society distracts us from seeing God’s beauty in each other, in nature, and the simplicity of our experiences in life. Growing up Roman Catholic, I remember following Mama’s lead in how to approach the season of Lent. She believed that if sacrifice caused unnecessary human pain, it was not of God or what the season should be all about. For Mama, Lent was a time of reflection, meditation, and prayer. Each one of these aspects took practice and focus. Mama was aware of all the distractions, but she taught me how the necessary things in life could be used as tools if we are truly still and listen. When I thought laundry was a distraction, Mama used it as a spiritual practice to be thankful for: a. we have clothes to wear; b. we have a machine that washes our clothes; c. the sun dries our clothes out on the clothesline. You see the beauty in this simple act, beloveds? It was a way of reflecting on how God is in all we do if we change our way of thinking – what I considered a chore, Mama saw it as a blessing. Granted, living in rural New Mexico doesn’t have the noises of larger cities. And even today, it is as if time has not changed much.


Lent has been a season of quieting all the noises and distractions. Maybe some of my colleagues or many others can relate. Three in the morning, and God seems to be giving me ideas on ministry, ways of problem-solving, worship ideas, etc. I have always wondered why I am awake at this time of the morning and thinking about ministry. Then it suddenly hits me: I am still, the noises around me are minimal, and God has my full attention – even if I’m a bit annoyed at the time. If it were later in the day, I’d be too distracted by phone calls, emails, conversations, and the many thousand things that we seem to go through daily. Those with children would probably have additional things to think about – breakfast, packing lunches for everyone, dropping off their children at daycare or school, work – then in reverse order when school is done. And yet, if I take Mama’s lesson to this – God is in all we do – watching our children grow up so fast, then the grandbabies come. It takes practice y’all! Reflecting on this paragraph, I can probably find many things to be thankful for, but the noise keeps me from seeing them. That is why the season of Lent is important and maybe we need to take Lent with us all year long when life gets overwhelming.


My church here at Diamond Bar United Church of Christ has been studying every Wednesday as a spiritual practice for Lent. We begin with soup-n-salad at six in the evening and study at seven. The book we are exploring as a spiritual practice is “The Untold Story of Jesus – A Modern Biography from The Urantia Book.” The group has used this book to enhance their understanding of our scripture readings in the Bible but have also been able to explore the possibilities of what if. What if Jesus really treated women as equals? What if Jesus really did not believe in the mean and vengeful depiction of God? What stood out for the group was the test of society’s traditions and religion. “Does it bring man to God, does it bring God to man?” The good thing about spiritual practice is that we do not always have to make the journey alone, we can rely on each other’s insights and journeys to help us see things differently, just like Mama’s lesson.


May we all take time to reflect and mediate, not just during our Lenten journey, but throughout the year. Take time to be still and see God in all ways and in everyone we meet. Want to experience the heart of God this Lenten journey – look to the heart of your church (remembering that church is not the building but the people in it).


Blessings with an abundance of love. 


 

Rev. Florentino “Tino” Cordova is the pastor at Diamond Bar United Church of Christ and a DSF/PSR graduate (M.Div./2013). He is the eleventh child of 12 born and raised in rural eastern New Mexico in a small village called Mosquero. A place where the community still takes care of each other’s needs without question. Tino’s graduating class in 1983 was 10. Tino was ordained in 2013 through the Metropolitan Community Church and received standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and then transferred his standing to the United Church of Christ, Hawaii Conference – Tri-Aisle Association in Maui. He recently moved back from Maui and has dual standing with the California-Nevada Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ and the Pacific Southwest Region – Disciples of Christ. Tino believes in the importance of community outreach and in the empowerment of our beloved Youth. The importance of bringing the church back into community, and a church that refuses to be silent or complacent amid injustices. He believes in leading with boldness as the faith community empowers itself and celebrates equality for all of God’s beloved children.

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