The Power and Beauty of Lent
We have entered Lent.
To me, this season of Lent feels particularly poignant, probably because of spending the past year navigating the pandemic personally and as the leader of two related communities—the church of St. Matthew’s-NoHo and the non-profit NoHo Home Alliance. Spiritually and emotionally, entering Lent feels to me like I have entered into a safe harbor. Lent, with its familiar rituals of ash and confession and prayer and self-discipline, offers a sense of normalcy: despite the pandemic, Lent happens like it does every year. But it isn’t simply the normalcy and annual repetition of Lent that provides me comfort. It is the feeling that with Lent I can fall more deeply and more intimately into God’s embrace. Like a tired child falls into their mother’s arms and finally sleeps. I am feeling myself more ready this year to turn all the struggles and weariness over to God, saying carry me for a little while. Let me sleep in your love and care for a little while. Let me confess my sins and then rest in your forgiveness for a little while. Rest. Love. Lent. Four-letter words we need right now.
We have entered Lent. The journey has begun! I hope that you will join me in using these 40 days and Sundays to reinvigorate your traditional spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting, as well as explore new ones, like those suggested in our Lenten Calendar for our theme: God’s Vision of Equity.
Lent is at once deeply personal and deeply public. That is, we do not just confess our personal and private sins—forgive me, God, for eating too much chocolate during the pandemic; forgive me for snapping at the dog when he wakes me up at 4:45am. We call on our all-powerful God to pour out God’s boundless forgiveness as well on the most destructive social sins---inequity and the exclusion of children of God on the basis of race or economic status, sexual identity, physical or mental abilities.
God’s grace, God’s love is so great, we can in fact cast even the heaviest of our burdens, the heaviest of our sins into God’s care and restoration. That is the power and beauty of Lent.
We have entered Lent. May we explore this powerful spiritual dwelling place fully for the sake of ourselves and the world God made and loves.