Settling into Lent

Settling into Lent

A reflection for Lent from the Rev. Bob Williams, St. James-Santiago, Tigard.

Lord our God, in every age you call a people to hear your word and to do your will. Renew us in these Lenten days: washed clean of sin, sealed with the Spirit, and sustained by your living bread, may we remain true to our calling and, with the elect, serve you alone. Grant this through Christ, our liberator from sin, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, holy and mighty God for ever and ever.

As we came to the end of the Epiphany season and moved into Lent, what connections are you finding between these seasons and your experience of God in your personal life and in the life of your congregation?

Epiphany reminds us that the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem is Good News and that we are called to share the Good News of Christ who came to show us the way with those we encounter in our daily lives. We are called to let the light that is Christ shine in ways that draw others to the life-giving light of Christ.

Lent is a season of wilderness, a journey of struggle, testing and turmoil. There are times in the life of every person and every congregation when we experience struggle, testing and turmoil. There may be times when God seems quite distant. This doesn’t mean God is any less present. It doesn’t mean we’ve done anything wrong. It simply means that life has its wilderness times just as we experience the winter season of the year.

Seasons vary in intensity, and are not always predictable. Deep down, we Christians know that the wilderness is not the end of the story but only a part of the journey, part of the way of the Cross, which leads to new life.

Transitions can seem very much like time in the wilderness. Check out the Exodus story of Moses and the people who would become the nation Israel. We learn from the Exodus story that there’s no point in trying to rush our time in the wilderness, but vitally important that we strive to stay connected to God and each other as we prayerfully seek God’s guidance on our journey to the promised land, God’s preferred future for us.

The season of Lent is the church’s springtime. Out of the darkness of sin’s winter a people emerges, reborn into new life through baptism. It’s a time of spring cleaning. A time to ask how are we doing, we who have died to sin and come alive to a new life in Christ.

Lent is a time for self-examination and repentance of those things in our lives that separate us from God and each other. In other words, a time for housecleaning and recommitment to the new life in Christ we entered in baptism.

I invite you to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating of God’s holy Word.(BCP, 265)