God’s Beloved People,
I am always amazed at the resiliency of God’s good creation. After our big snow finally started melting off, tulips and daffodils immediately started pushing their little green heads up through the dirt in front of the church. This was February 9th or 10th and some were even coming up right through the snow! Nature is hardy and resilient. We have all had to be hardy and resilient during this pandemic. It’s been 2 long years now and we have come to accept that Covid-19 will probably always be with us to some extent. There will be more variants and we probably will need annual vaccinations, just like for the flu. Masking requirements may well depend on the numbers of infected people in each county.
So we have learned to be hardy and resilient and smart. Yes we can worship in person and even eat together. Probably we will need to keep using the little sealed communion cups for a while longer. No, it’s not yet a good idea for the choir to sing together.
We can be hardy and resilient and smart, because we can rely on our God who is more than hardy and resilient and smart. Our God, the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of the entire universe, is also gracious and merciful and loving.
On March 2nd we begin the 40 days of Lent together with Ash Wednesday. The 40 days of Lent are in preparation for Easter, but do not include Sundays, which are always “little Easters.” As you may know, “Lent” comes from an old English word meaning “to lengthen.” The daylight hours are lengthening as we move into spring. So lent basically means spring. Many folks start to do some spring cleaning this time of year. I haven’t washed the windows at home yet, but it’s on my list. I did rake up a whole bunch of pine needles and leaves, and clipped off the dead stalks of mint, sedum and peony. Lent is a good time for spring cleaning.
But lent is about more than house cleaning. Lent is like spring cleaning for the soul. During lent we seek to walk more closely with our Savior Jesus Christ. Worship, prayer, fasting, giving to charity, Bible reading, confession and forgiveness, and acts of love for our neighbors in need, the disciplines of lent, help us to be intentional in our walk with Jesus. And having walked with our Savior all the way to his death on the cross, we shall be able to fully celebrate his resurrection on Easter Sunday, which is April 17th this year.
We hear this verse from the prophet Joel on Ash Wed. “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Joel 2:13. I always think this a good theme verse for all of lent. Our God is not only hardy and resilient. Our God is gracious and merciful and loving. Our God urges us to be gracious and merciful and loving to one another.
Peace in Jesus, Pastor Dennis