Lent is here and we are fast into the season of repentance and renewal.
These words, Repentance and Renewal are connected in a deep manner. They tell us that the dark of our fears, the depth of our pain, the angst of our suffering is real. It is part of our human journey. Those moments of being suffocated under the dirt of our sin pressure us to open into new ways of being. We are called in those moments of unbearable discomfort to seek a new way,
to turn from that which has been and find the light of something new, even if it is not the best “new” for us. This cycle of repentance and renewal is not a one time event. For some of us, it is daily. We seek to overcome some habit, some addiction, some internal tape, taking enormous energy to move us from inertia of complacency and status quo to a new way
of being, of taking care of our spirit, of hearing who we are and to whom we belong.
Our church year reflects this for us collectively…the advent of new life begins in December. The days of epiphany and discovery, following the stories of Jesus’ early ministry, offer us time to grow and become as young adults in faith. Then transfiguration comes and we have a super epiphany—something really fits and, more often, something we believe or do, we discover, does not really fit who we want to be or is not what we originally thought—and we are enlightened. From that moment of enlightenment, we also find suffering. The disciples were asked to hold their tongue; we are asked to be held in grace even as we seek to find a new way to be, turning from that which was and lent is upon us, Spring awaiting the bloom of new life. We die to
ourselves and then there is the moment of resurrection! Easter brings the bloom of new, the hope of a start, the reassurance that there is a “next” for us. Pentecost is the moment when the old is definitely burned off and we are empowered for our next length of the journey…only to find ourselves in a time of gentle movement once again as we hear Christ is the King, naming for us that we are not to rely on ourselves, only on God as we begin again the journey through a new life, cemented in the innocence of faith that draws us ever forward.
Individually, we experience these movements of life at our own pace. Collectively, we celebrate them annually as a community of faith, practicing together that which we experience individually, offering us awareness that allows us to support one another, growing us in faith, and bringing us to conversations that both challenge and grow us as disciples.
For Messiah, we are in the time of Lent. We need to look at our budget realistically, we need to think about what exactly we are doing to put the Faith of our Fathers into the words of our Children—how are we sharing the faith with the world, the children of our day, unbelievers and estranged alike? This time of Lent is a time to reflect individually and collectively on what God
is calling us to in order for us to proclaim the gospel, the good news of belonging, forgiveness, and resurrection, to everyone, even yourself. Try walking through this Lent with a daily moment of reflection alone or with a friend (https://www.melclindsborg.org/2020/02/21/2020-lenten-devotional/ or pick up a hard copy outside the office). Pray about what God is doing for you and for the Church.
We are God’s people, called to be disciples. We are God’s people, called to be community through the church, Messiah Evangelical Lutheran. We are God’s people, claimed and loved by the one who understands deeply how it is to live as a human in this world. We are God’s people, loved and held in grace.
May we find ways to end suffering. May we find ways to share love. May we share experiences of repentance and renewal such that people we encounter might know God is with each of us. May we find God’s peace in our own hearts that it might be shared with the world through us.
Peace be with you as you journey this Lent.
~Yours in Christ, Pastor Amy