Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies. Starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell, the movie is about a self-absorbed weatherman, Phil Conners (Murray), and his sweet and innocent producer, Rita (McDowell), who are sent to cover the Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, PA. They are forced to spend the night in Punxsutawney, and when Phil wakes up the next morning, he discovers that it is February 2 — again. He is trapped in an endless loop, reliving the same day, over and over, and he is the only one that knows what’s happening.
What makes the movie so meaningful is that the experience ultimately changes Phil. At first, he simply tries to end the cycle, trying everything he can think of, including suicide. Then he takes advantage of the situation, stealing money, gorging on food (he never gains any weight), and trying to take advantage of women. But over time, Phil comes to accept his fate and use the situation for good. He learns to play the piano; he helps people in crisis. When he finally stops fighting, and starts living for others, he is given his life back.
In one memorable scene, Phil is in a bowling alley with two local guys. He says to them, “What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same and nothing that you did mattered?” One of the guys replies, “That about sums it up for me.”
Sometimes, even though we are not stuck in an endless cycle of February 2nds, we know exactly what Phil Conner is experiencing. Every day feels the same, and nothing seems to matter, nothing we do seems to make a difference. We know what it is like to feel stuck, unable to move forward. Like Phil, we discover that living solely for our own benefit, looking out for number one, does not help. The possibility of new life — the start of a new day — begins when we start living for others. Specifically, when we surrender our lives to God and start following Jesus Christ.
Each of the four New Testament Gospels records Jesus saying something like this: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (Mark 8:34b-35). This is how God works; it is the secret to abundant life. It is the power of Easter at work in the world.
The invitation to follow Jesus is an invitation to leave behind the endless cycle of meaningless days and discover the joy and wonder of following Jesus — worshipping God, growing in faith, serving Christ, giving generously, and sharing the Good News.
Surrender your life to God … and see what happens.
Lent and Holy Week at Trinity
Trinity’s 2023 Lenten theme will focus on Jesus’ dying hours and his final words as the Gospel writers recorded them. Last year we considered the final 24 hours of Jesus’ life. This year, Final Words from the Cross by Adam Hamilton will be our guide as meet the variety of characters who gather at the cross and reflect on the seven final statements of Jesus. Join us each week as we seek to understand the meaning of Jesus’ dying words for our lives today.
Here are some important dates to remember. See weekly emails and bulletins for additional information:
- Lent Sermon Series – The Final Words from the Cross
- Lent Study – Final Words from the Cross by Adam Hamilton
Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. in-person and on Zoom
Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on Zoom
- Holy Week Worship
April 2 – Palm and Passion Sunday 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
April 6 – Holy Thursday Service of Holy Communion at 7 p.m.
April 7 – Good Friday Tenebrae Service at 7 p.m.
- Easter – April 9
Eater Sunrise Service at 7 a.m.
Easter Day Services at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.