– Pastor’s Corner –
– Pastor’s Corner –
By the Rev. Lucy Schottelkorb Big Drywood Lutheran Church • Cadott Happy Lent, ya’ll!
Now I expect there could potentially be some questions in your mind. Things like, “Is Lent really a happy time?” or “Why is she using the term ‘ya’ll’?” or “What on earth is Lent?”
We’ll start with the last (Jesus said, “The last shall be first,” after all).
What on earth is Lent?
Lent is a period of time in the year, recognized by many churches as the time leading up to Easter Sunday, the day when the bunny comes, and gives everybody eggs and candy – OR, even better – the day when Christians believe Jesus was resurrected from the dead, after dying by crucifixion and being buried in the tomb, “all corpsified and gross,” for three days (10 points if you can name that obscure TV reference!).
We care about the death of this first-century man, because we also believe he was more than just a man, but God’s own Son and also that by his death (as by his life), we see the literal depths God will go to, to demonstrate God’s forgiveness and love for us.
There’s a whole lot more could be said here, but time is short, so for now, it might be useful to add that Lent is traditionally a more somber time in the church year, when we confess our failings to live like God desires and renew our dedication to living as Jesus’ followers, who practice love of God and neighbor, by prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in many and various ways.
It is herein you might encounter that tradition of “giving something up” for Lent. The idea behind abstaining from chocolate or soda, or Facebook, is not for the removal of whatever thing unto itself (although that certainly could be a great thing, depending on how unhealthy the practice), but to also allow the empty space created to be filled in by God in prayer or in service to another.
Other Lenten practice may focus more on service, the taking up of a project or activity, to serve neighbor or community, or on prayer and devotional life. For a simple way to engage God a little more deeply in Scripture, you are welcome to visit Big Drywood’s Facebook page to read the brief daily word of the day.
The theme of my congregation’s Sunday worship through this Lenten season, is wilderness. This is where Lent begins, with Jesus tempted there. A concurrent happening through his temptation, is he is also shaped and formed for his life of ministry.
We, too, know our share of wilderness experiences in this life, whether they are actual trips through desert wastelands or the emotional and spiritual struggles of grief, addiction, troubled relationships, sickness, anxiety, depression, the list goes on and on.
The wilderness is seldom a place we choose to go, but Lent reminds us even in our wanderings we can remember who, and whose, we are, created and beloved of God, and it may just be that God’s presence and love, can reach and teach us, even in these desolate places.
I pray God would be with you now, in whatever place along the road you find yourself, whether in verdant springs of life or desolate fields of isolation. I pray you might find the courage and intrigue, to intentionally engage in the invitation and discipline of Lent, being open to the ways God may call to you and guide you along life’s way.
Above all, I pray you might know the forgiveness and presence of Jesus Christ, through whom we might know most clearly the depth of the grace and love of God. May God be with you, now and always. Amen!