A Gentle Lent
by Canon Tim Clayton

Dear Christ the Redeemer family,

It has long been the custom of Christians during the weeks before Easter to spiritually walk with Jesus along his path to his suffering and Passion. Typically during this season of Lent we give something up – we voluntarily forego chocolate, say, or coffee, or some other pleasure that is good in and of itself but that will take some intentionality on our part to abstain from for several weeks. We don’t do this to try to catch our good deeds up with our bad, but, rather, as a matter of facing our own mortality and attempting to have greater solidarity with Jesus, who was walking towards his suffering and death.

This year as Lent begins we’ve all spent basically a year giving things up, a year of losses: some once-in-a-lifetime, some temporary, some in between. So this year we’ll be keeping a gentle Lent – bringing the losses to our God, and finding him there, with us, and still in our stories, all the while calling us to trust him in the midst of the loss, that he is a God who authors stories of redemption. The stories of some of the major figures of the Old Testament will be our lenses for our pilgrimage through Lent.

Ash Wednesday: Job Loses It All

  • When life falls apart: “Curse God and die.”
  • “I know that my redeemer lives, and yet though I die still I shall see him, I, myself, and not another.”

1L: Joseph Loses His Groove

  • Sold into slavery, work his way from the bottom up, set up, imprisoned and dependent on those whose only thought was of themselves…
  • “You meant it for evil, but God…”

2L: Ruth Loses the Love of Her Life

  • Her status goes with him.
  • “Where you go, I will go…”

3L: David Loses His Carefree Youth

  • David never sought intrigue; his best friend’s arrow sent him on the run.
  • “Who am I to take the Lord’s anointed?”

4L: Hagar Loses Her Safety

  • Sarai loses the plot; Abram does not man up.
  • “You are a God who sees.”

5L: Moses Loses His Cool

  • And the Promised Land…
  • His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated.”

6L, Palm Sunday: Everyone Loses Their Patience

  • From “Hosannah!” to “Crucify!”
  • “Not my will, but yours be done.”

And EASTER: Mary Loses Nothing At All

  • “And a sword shall pierce your soul…”
  • “Woman, behold your son… Behold, your mother!”
  • “Peace be with you.”

Dear friends, I trust our Lord Jesus will meet us in these coming weeks of Lent. Praise him for his faithfulness in walking the whole path laid out before him, out of love for us.

May Jesus Christ be Praised,
Tim+

PS: I am also very glad to say we are returning to the mode of having rotating groups present in the church building during our celebrations of Holy Eucharist. If you would like to be in a group and were not in the autumn, please let us know. Also, I know we all know the drill but just a few humble reminders:

  • Please check in upon arrival. (We keep the record of who attends, unless it is needed for contact tracing.)
  • These are the sorts of masks that the CDC recommends  as most effective (please wear one of these – we will have the blue surgical masks available if you need one).
  • I do hope you will get to connect with one another after the service; we ask that you please do this outdoors.