As I write to you in these first days of Lent, I’m wondering if I’ll ever enter a Lenten season again without the overwhelming echo of the feelings and memories from last year.
The 2020 Shrove Tuesday celebration, when I was unsuspecting about the changes to come. My growing daily unease that became fear and dread as the virus spread and took over the news. Our Lenten ministry plans being edited, rewritten, and canceled. A March 12 phone call from our warden, Dave, which I took while standing in a packed Trader Joes full of empty shelves, telling me that our church building would be closing. Our first Zoom Epiphany staff meeting, where we tried to imagine a whole new kind of Lent, and a whole new kind of church.
We all have our own stories of Lent from last February and March. Each week brought new realities and new griefs. For some, those weeks even brought new, confusing joys like time and quiet. Some of us leaned into God and the journey of Lent more fully than ever before; and some of us just couldn’t bare it. The wilderness was too real.
And here we are, back again. Perhaps you have jumped into this Lent with renewed purpose; praise be to God. But I think many of us are crawling in on our hands and knees. Already praying. Already grieved. Already exhausted.
My daily prayer for each of us this Lent, whatever your posture, comes from Hebrews 12:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses . . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Nick, Craig, and I are running with you. Your wardens and vestry are running with you. This entire parish--this great cloud of witnesses--is running with you. You can continue, my dear friends. Whether sprinting or crawling, Jesus meets you this Lent wherever you are.