I hope this finds you sheltering in place, healthy, and well supplied. If you need anything, please let the church office know or immediately get in touch with one of your pastors or council members. We will continue calling you in the coming days to check in.
One Christian recently quipped this on Facebook: “This is the lentiest Lent I’ve ever lented.” If we think of the church season of Lent as a time when we traditionally give up something, then yes, this is probably the lentiest Lent ever, because we’ve give up more than we could have ever expected. In our efforts to maintain a safe physical and social distance, we’ve given up physical contact with one another. Our social calendars are wiped clean for several months. We’ve given up groceries that just aren’t available at times in the stores—including more than just toilet paper. My daughter panicked over the weekend when she ran out of food for her dogs and couldn’t find any in the stores. We’ve given up our gyms, trips, and restaurants. Some of us have given up our jobs or in best-case scenarios, have had to do them in a whole new way.
And yet through all of this, in some ways I’ve gained new things. I’ve learned to Zoom, or use my computer or smart Phone to attend gatherings and meetings. Yesterday I even connected with family back East by Zoom to celebrate my sister’s birthday. We’ve adapted to offering worship by video. My neighbors are keeping close tabs on one another, texting daily to check in, and in some ways we are all feeling closer than ever. Without the usual gym routine, Clint and I researched and found new Prescott hiking trails that have astounded us by their beauty. My dog and cats are thrilled that we are home so much. I have all day to gaze at the gorgeous peach tree in full pink bloom out back. So is this really the lentiest Lent ever? I guess it’s all a matter of reframing.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 exhorts us “to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” We don’t have to give thanks for all circumstances—only in all circumstances. We can certainly look for things to be thankful for in the midst of this strange new world. Let us therefore start each day at a place of gratitude.