~ Pandemic Lent ~
“He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.”
Dear Members and Friends,
Happy Lenten Season to you. Lent is a forty-day period in which we encourage you to take up some new discipline, or practice, or expression of faith in order to draw closer to God. All too often, Lent is seen as a time to dutifully give up caffeine or chocolate for a while. Far be it from me to criticize the spiritual practices of others, but I’m not sure what such brief periods of abstinence accomplish. As the pandemic grows long and our tempers grow short; as great cycles of injustice are being unmasked, and systemic racism and white supremacy are being exposed in many of the things we take for granted; as the threats of sedition and economic disruption loom, we might do better than to give up Netflix for forty days…though that couldn’t hurt…come to think of it. We might do better to abstain from apathy and take up some costly act of compassion, or justice, or self-identification with the marginalized.
Yes, there is a kind of funk that has settled over us these days. There have been so many deaths in the congregation in recent weeks. People are tired of sitting at their computer screens, and it’s becoming easy for once-faithful churchgoers to sense a sort of estrangement from all things church. In response to this "funk,” the session has agreed to open the church sanctuary during office hours to anyone who would like to enter, rest, meditate, pray, or just think. It might be nice to get back into that space that you probably haven’t seen in about a year. If you might be interested in this opportunity, there is no need to get a key or tell anyone you’re coming. Just park in the handicap lot and use the handicap entrance. It will be unlocked during office hours, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on weekdays.
Also, we’re looking at going back to in-person worship services starting Palm Sunday, which is the last Sunday in March. We will be taking reservations for the service on Easter Sunday, too! Check your emails for details.
Who will we be on the other side of this pandemic? What old things in our lives will remain? What new things will come to be? It’s hard to say. The future seems like an unknown country. Let us give ourselves permission to rest in God during this Lenten season. Let us practice God’s presence in these times, trusting God with our tomorrows and living faithfully today.
In Christ’s Peace,