March 5, 2019
The season of Lent is named from the Latin word for “lengthen.” During this season, the days gain more hours of light, and the earth reawakens in the preparation for the coming spring. It is also an invitation to lengthen our souls and spirits, to rekindle relationship with God in Jesus Christ. Lent revisits the forty days and nights that Noah, his family, and the animals spent on the ark, the forty years the Israelites spent in the wilderness, and the forty days of Jesus’ fasting and prayer spent in the desert.
Lent is an invitation for each of us to look within, and seek healing and wholeness in our journey towards becoming disciples. It is also a time to consider that darkness is gift, a time to reject darkness a state one can only desire to escape. As the color black is the presence of all color, lent can be a time to reflect on our presence, to approach those things within us that have been hidden away and deal with them with courage. This may be the season to invigorate those long-forgotten talents that bring us joy. This season is also a time for sharing what we have, praying for ourselves and others, and perhaps fasting as an act of commitment and faithfulness. It is a time to welcome and recover our sense of belovedness in God, to cherish a clear vision of who and whose we are.
Fasting is surrender and giving up something, not as punishment, but to reduce the distractions that often keep us from hearing God and the whispers of our authentic self. This practice may also be a way to mourn the state of the world, to truly recover the art and necessity of lament, to slow down, and seek the heart of God as together the faithful stitch together new possibilities of life and justice. Fasting may also be adding something new to our lives like forgiveness, compassion, reframing our stereotypes, or a taking on a new healthy habit.
This year, our Lenten theme is “Alone Together.” Together, let us acknowledge that we are single individuals who are also a part of the collective, a part of the body of Christ. There is no either/or experience here; we are both alone and through our faith and choice, together.
This day, many of us are mourning the life of dear friend and loved one Bob Almquist whose life was taken in an act of senseless violence. The impression of his life upon Plymouth, Seattle, and so many hearts cannot be adequately named. We are praying for Marcia who not only is navigating waters she never imagined would come, but the nature of Bob’s death presents a profound mourning. O God, what loss! How can we bear it? I pray we will struggle to bind together and seek God’s consolation, even in this misery of traumatic grief.
We are but on a journey, a spiritual Cantebury Tales of sorts. We are but pilgrims walking each other home, and I pray this season, we discover the many ways our stories are woven together. Friends, we need each other.
You are invited to enter Lent discovering your new reality. Come to church regularly. Engage in faith formation as a way to become closer to God, to your family and community, and to experience growth within. Read a Psalm each day. Recommit to prayer and centering practices, to ritualize expressions of healing and wholeness, and to act on behalf of the less fortunate. Pray each day for a specific person or family within Plymouth and beyond, so that we are reminded of our connectedness to each other and to God in Jesus Christ. Blessed be. -Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown