Lent: A Time to Tell the Truth (2021)

I recently heard the season of Lent described as “the big bummer of the church calendar.” While this description made me chuckle, it also made me pause and think. Is the season of Lent a real bummer?

On the surface, Lent is a season for reflection and repentance – a time to turn back toward God. It is a time of the year to confess that we have been (and will always be) imperfect people. We are reminded of our own mortality and finitude – that we are unable to save ourselves from that which seeks to destroy us.

Perhaps for some, these themes are a “bummer.” But as theologian, writer, and professor Kate Bowler puts it, Lent is also “the perfect season to tell the truth about the way things really are and have always been. Sometimes things are awful and we need each other to orient ourselves toward the light, to hunt for hope, to speak realistically, and to make our way through.”

To me, this description is less a bummer and more permission giving. The Lenten season is a time when we are reminded of the truth that exists whether or not we – or the rest of the world – actually acknowledge it. We are called to pay close attention to not only what is difficult in our lives, but also to what is meaningful, holy, and life-giving.

As we approach the one-year mark of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic, it is an appropriate time for us to take stock and tell the truth about where we are, how we are feeling, and consider what the future holds. One year in, there is still much we do not know, and the anxiety and fear that can grip our hearts in the midst of uncertainty is really real.

But we also know of our resilience and creativity. We have found new ways of connecting in meaningful ways. We continue to worship together across different mediums. We care for one another by phone, email, and socially-distanced visits. We are doing life together as community, albeit in different ways.

This Lenten season, I invite you to join us as we explore how God has especially equipped us for this life together. On Wednesdays at 12 noon, we will gather for worship via Zoom and explore various topics centered around the theme of being “Created for Community.” See the ways we are gathering this year by visiting our Lent webpage, where you can access our devotional materials and activity booklet. We pray that these resources will be a blessing to you this season.

Indeed, God created us for community and we are knit together into relationship not only with God, but with each other and all of creation. God equips us to pay close attention to the truth that surrounds us: life can be difficult, but it is also beautiful and holy, and we are on this journey together.

May you have a blessed Lenten season!
Pastor Lindsey