An oxymoron, isn’t it? Yet that’s what the church calendar does with these holy seasons like Lent. Meets us each year with an invitation to enter into the six week journey from where we find ourselves now. In some ways changed, for life experience and events have changed us along the way. So it’s Lent once again, but if we take into account the changes that have shifted our perspective, our state of mind and spirit, it can be new as for the very first time. I’m grateful for these seasons of the spirit, and the way they come along and challenge me to reflect on what’s changed, what longs to be changed? What does the Lenten call to repentance mean but a call for change, to turn around, to reorient ourselves in life giving ways?
On a personal note, I would’ve never guessed that this time round I’d be a new grandparent to twins, and that instead of eating pancakes with you all and celebrating Ash Wednesday, I’d be caring for them and their parents up in Oregon. What a gift the love and care of community offering support in times of joy, and times of challenge and concern. I am once more, and yet as if for the first time, newly awed by the sense of strength and sustenance such community provides. Humbly and deeply grateful for our Ladera church family, I hope you know the uplifting power you hold, and share so generously. Thank you!
In the wider scheme, who would’ve guessed that this Lent there would be so many challenging issues swirling around – from environmental protection, assaults on civil liberties, access to affordable health care, eroding support for public education, women’s rights, a free press, and a rise in anti-Semitism and other racially motivated violence. The call for the church to be a prophetic witness and advocate for justice raises great challenges, yet we are equipped with, once again, the power of community to effect change, supplied by the gospel of love, compassion and inclusion that Jesus gave his all to share with us. So we rally around the vulnerable, we speak up and bear witness and write and call and organize, and act as agents of change motivated by a gospel imperative: love your neighbor as yourself.
“Ashes to Alleluia” – that’s the theme this Lenten season for reflection, moving us to resurrection joy, and new life. Come celebrate in worship. Your presence has power to encourage.
With gratitude and love,
From Ladera Life – March 2017