|There has been a lot of commentary leading up to Lent that the last year has felt like Lent, when we have had to give up many things, put beloved traditions away for a season, and to trust deeply that the God of love and resurrection will see us through to whatever is coming next. These are all true statements – the last year has taken a serious toll on all of us, in many different ways. Our communities, families, institutions, country and world are hurting. I loved the line in the poem we shared in worship two weeks ago at the Presbytery meeting, because it rang so true to me: “…because the world is sick.” The world really is sick, with Covid-19, with nationalism and xenophobia, with a runaway climate crisis and in many places, sick with apathy and carelessness.
As we enter into this Lenten Season this year, I am reflecting on the idea of being sick. Of being unwell. And of needing healing. I know that while the there are many avenues of healing, (and in this season I am most grateful for the avenue of healing which is the Covid-19 vaccine), the healing we most need, collectively and individually, can only come from the saving grace we find in Jesus. I cling in this season to Jesus’ words that he came to bring healing and salvation to all of Creation. Nothing, absolutely nothing is left out from the healing mercy of Jesus. Not the tiniest microbe, the coral reefs, the rainforests, a great blue whale, global pandemics, hatred and enmity, communities, and even you…even me. Nothing escapes the healing love of Jesus Christ.
This Lent will feel different, because it is different. We’ve never started a Lent this way before. But I trust in the promises of God, that we are accompanied in all things by the Holy Spirit. And so I pray that this will be a holy Lent for you. A time of reflection, of letting go, of picking up, of trusting, and of grieving. Whatever and wherever this Lenten season finds you, it is OK. Because you are beloved.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, General Presbyter