Dear friends in Christ,

How are your Lenten practices unfolding this season? Are they opening up a new space for you to reflect, pray, sigh deeply, exhale? If your answer is “no” I invite you to stop and re-think your practice for this season. Perhaps your revised practice should be more along the lines of eliminating things on your list of  to dos. Perhaps you are doing enough regarding the things of this world; perhaps doing less is perfectly fine. Perhaps what your soul hungers for is a different kind of moment…one that is not filled with anything tangible.  Perhaps what your soul desires is a moment with the intangible: a few minutes of sitting in stillness, walking away from your screen and looking at the clouds,, a good cry, a good belly laugh, calling someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile to tell them you are thinking about them.

We have been suffering for a year. Knowing that this will pass, at some point in the future, does not make it less awful in the moment. We continue to suffer and struggle while finding a way to keep our days from feeling like one long nightmare of disconnection.  

The fullness of our humanity is under stress in ways we could not have anticipated. And even under the weight of this suffering, we know that we can and do anticipate God’s full and certain presence with us. Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth reminds us: “This too shall pass.” I remind us of this assurance not as a light-weight pep talk but as a reminder that our humanity is fully alive in God known to us in Jesus the Human One. This divine presence is available to us even in our suffering, our stress, our impatience with the daily Covid routines.  

Perhaps a simple revision to our Lenten practice might be to pivot, ever so slightly, away from all this we know will pass away and find a space to be with God … to be in God. A deep sigh. An exhale. A good cry. A belly laugh. These are ways to be in God, and they are blessings in the midst of our suffering.

O Lord, strong and mighty, Lord of hosts and King of glory: Cleanse our hearts from sin, keep our hands pure, and turn our minds from what is passing away; so that at the last we may stand in your holy place and receive your blessing; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Bishop Diana