Last year in preparation for the Lenten season, the staff and I came up with what we thought was a clever though important theme to guide our way from Ash Wednesday to Resurrection morning:
Slow down and breathe.
Slow down and listen.
Slow down and love.
Slow down and see.
Slow down and simply be.
I cannot remember if we ever got chance to roll it out to the congregation, because within a few short days, life as we had known it slowed almost to a halt while speeding up immensely in other unimaginable ways.
As we approach the season this year, I think the message is still a necessary one. I wonder sometimes why we all seem to be in such a hurry. Where are we going, and why is there such a rush to get there? I wonder about all the things and people we miss because we did not see and did not hear; we failed to love properly and to receive love in return. I think about those moments gone forever. And why? Because we were too busy.
Granted, there is much work to be done, far more than we will ever accomplish in our lifetime. And there are people depending on us all the time. I wonder, though, how much more effective we might be if we could slow down just a bit, pay closer attention, listen more carefully, and be more thoughtful, patient, loving, and kind.
The Lenten season is about being honest with ourselves about ourselves, realizing that we are God’s beloved, for God has withheld nothing—not even God’s Son—for our sake. We cannot do that without some stillness, quiet, and reflection. And if we are honest, we might admit that we really do need this kind of affirmation on a regular basis.
How will you observe this Lenten season? What practices will you take on? Let go of? Like most things of value, we will have to be intentional if we want to get the full impact of the season and all that it offers.
Starting next Wednesday, you will receive in your inbox each week several reflections beautifully written by the members of our church. I will write again in this forum after Easter.
As always, I look forward to walking these days together and—greater still—to rising to new life together on Resurrection morning!
Grace and peace,