A Kind Lent this Year

Once again we prepare to walk the way of Lent. A journey we may have traveled many times before, but that, like everything else, feels different this year. “Normally” we gather together for Ash Wednesday, chant the Great Litany, and walk through the days of Lent together, gathered in the church building. This year, we will do those things virtually—which will feel different and, in many ways, hard. And while I do not want to minimize any of the pain associated with not gathering in person, I do believe that God can make something out of nothing, a way out of no way, and perhaps this year we will see something in Lent that we could not before. Perhaps this year we will understand more deeply Jesus’ isolation in the wilderness as we live our own. Perhaps this year we will understand more deeply, that just as Jesus was not actually alone, neither are we—that the God who walks with us throughout all of life, walks with us into the wilderness and will walk us back out.

I am aware that some of us have a tendency to focus on the wilderness—the howling winds and the wild beasts—the negative aspects of our lives, ourselves, during Lent. That we can easily get caught up in focusing on our shortcomings, our failures, our faults. And while it is good and healthy to see ourselves fully and completely, warts and all, I think that perhaps this year we need to be especially kind to ourselves. Because God does not desire us to wallow in our unworthiness, God does not desire us to beat ourselves up or punish ourselves, to spend Lent torturing ourselves over what we have done and left undone. God’s desire for us is life-abundant life. Even in Lent. God’s desire for us is wholeness, peace, and joy. So perhaps this year our call is for a kind Lent. A Lent in which we pay attention to those things that lead us deeper into life, real life, and lean into them. Lean into times of refreshment and prayer, times of connection with others (at a safe distance or virtually of course), times of just being with God—being aware of God’s presence within and all around us. Leaning into the simplicity of the season.

During Lent, Sarah and I will be offering services, retreats, adult education, times of prayer, to equip us all for this journey. I encourage you to join us as you are able. Whatever you do, remember deep in your heart, that God loves you—yes you—and God’s desire for you this Lent and always is relationship, love, and life. 


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