If often feels odd to separate the Season of Lent from Holy Week and the Season of Easter. It is really the whole story that needs to be taken into our hands and then taken into our lives.
The journey into and through Lent takes us more deeply into who we say we are. When we are the ‘followers of Jesus – sharing God’s love with all’, there will be consequences to such life. The stories of Lent in every year of the three lectionary cycles of lessons hand us the Jesus who dared to open wide his arms and his heart so that anyone and everyone had the opportunity to see how God’s love for all people really is able to unfold and become known. It is a daring journey because such love does not fit into the patterns of life that are so readily acceptable to ways of our world – ways that we tend to often make our own. So Lent is meant to shake us up and offer us time to take on a new life. That is why giving something up for Lent often diminishes the journey. What did Jesus take on as he headed toward Jerusalem and through the powers of the world?
The journey into and through Holy Week is often seen as an untouchable time – too busy to engage in real life action – too limited by rituals and liturgies. And yet, in the middle of the ritual laden environs of the Temple, Jesus brought a life into the a place and time that so many called holy so that the people would come to see the reality of holy put into action. This year in Holy Week, we will be reaching out to feed our neighborhood children who are home from school and therefore going without their free lunch program. We will then be gathering together to unload 15,000 pounds of produce and perishable in order to hand them out to folks in need. Outside on that Maundy Thursday we will have a tent out near the give-away in which we will offer foot washing to anyone who need a moment of rest and care. This afternoon work will be the sermon for the day.
The journey through the cross and out of the tomb will become for us a time to take a look at how the resurrection affirms a life that becomes available to all of us by the power of the Holy Spirit. The season of Easter will be a time when we consider how new life springs eternal into our every day. We will see the planting of our church vegetable garden, the blessing of plants and seeds, the days leading up to the second year of The Ravens’ Farmers Market, and the amazing way we are lifted up to see the fullness of Christ’s life becoming a part of us.
And then, there will come the season of Pentecost – get ready!
Welcome means welcome. All means all. Beloved means beloved. Forgiven means forgiven. In the world of American Christianity, those words are quite common, but each one can be dropped or burdened with conditions. When the love of God that knows no limit cannot be contained by the conditions humanity loves to place on all things, it is truly a love that will not let us go. This is a rare love . . . it is a costly love . . . it is a bold and upfront love for all.