We’ve heard about the month of March. It comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb – or vice versa. Accordingly, we are currently in for a lovely April 1st, or may instead end up April fooled. March is a month in which we expect to be either surprised or sideswiped!
This is fitting for Lent, a season that calls us to venture out of hibernation into vivid, sensory, renewed life! In fact, we could think of Lent as a remembrance of Jesus being called out of his time of mortal life into a time of new, eternal life, resurrection; the ultimate demonstration that death is not the last word.
If and when we “give up” something for Lent – in the sense of personal suffering or self-denial – it is intended to help us identify with Jesus and to increase or intensify the experience of celebration when the resurrection occurs.
For some, this is meaningful and at its best, exquisite.
For some, it is punishing. And for almost every one of us this has been a rather punishing year.
There has been a great deal of “giving up” since last Easter. Our one-year anniversary of worshiping at a distance will occur in the heart of Lent.
It may be that this particular Lent, the best thing some of us may do is reclaim our readiness to be fully alive. If we give up anything, it’s not in denial, but rather a laying down of heavy burdens. We may intentionally begin to re-awaken our spirits for a blooming of new energy as Easter comes!
In worship, walking through the events of Jesus’ ministry at this time – the teaching and healing as well as increasing and impending doom – we find miracles and marvels, as well as malevolence.
March 7 our central text is Psalm 23, and the reflection time will be a contemplative practice from a new source, The Ministry Lab. The Lab is an interdenominational collaborative associated with United Theological Seminary, which has recently moved into the Prospect Park neighborhood. This is also a Communion Sunday. “You set a table before me in the presence of my foes; my cup overflows.”
March 14 Anne Supplee will bring the reflection, “What Does Non-Violence Mean?” from a Quaker perspective. Kathy Webb and Alan Husby will be the sanctuary musicians, and we will hear the musical selection featured in our Virtual Concert Series by Tjärnblom: A Scandinavian Style String Band.
On March 21 we will recognize our one-year anniversary of worshiping remotely. We will pause to consider that we are “yet alive,” as the old Wesleyan hymn of greeting declares, “to see each other’s face.” We will recognize losses and celebrate what has grown, and continue this long wilderness crossing – in the heart of the season of Lent.
March 28 is Palm Sunday. We are planning a virtual Tenebrae service. This requires a hearty number of readers, so we are looking for people who enjoy reading scripture or character monologues. Please let me know if you would enjoy reading – or recording a reading ahead of time – for the Palm Sunday service.
As many of us gain tech-literacy, I recuperate, and we intentionally add more voices to our worship gatherings, new opportunities come up. I know it is difficult to volunteer to read or speak aloud in public worship. Still, it is something we so much enjoy – we long too hear one another’s voices. If you can even imagine giving it a try, please let me know! Or maybe, just maybe, you are thinking of someone you would like to recommend to read. Urge that someone to volunteer!! Or pass your idea along and I’ll follow up.
Whether Easter arrives gently or in a whirlwind, we will be here to celebrate the glory and wonder in gratitude and praise. As one of my beloved refrigerator magnets reminds me every single day: “Something will grow from this, and it will be me.” May it be so for each of us.