It was nearly a year ago that our annual Lenten journey took an unexpected turn. We joyfully celebrated Shrove Tuesday with our traditional pancake supper and Jazz Mass. We experienced the self-reflection of Ash Wednesday worship, and we began “Our Journey Inward” in the first two weeks of Lent together. But then, the unthinkable happened: We had to close the doors of the church building because of a global pandemic. Thanks to the blessings of technology, we were able to continue worshiping and walking together on the journey of Lent, and over the past year we have learned to adapt, to pivot, and to change so that we could continue to be the church in new ways. We had to hit the “reset” button and allow God to lead us in new directions.
Throughout the scriptures, we hear stories of people whose lives changed on a dime. We see people who are stopped by God in their tracks and are given new direction, new beginnings, and new callings. Over and over again, God helps God’s people hit the “reset” button and take a new path. Each Sunday during Lent, we will hear one of these stories and explore how God is inviting us—individually and as the body of Christ—to a fresh start and a new path.
As we approach another Lenten season, we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic. There is now a vaccine, and throughout the spring more and more people will be protected from this virus. We hope to see the world and the church slowly opening back up. Alongside these changes, we will also be seeing God’s creation reopening and being reborn. Over the six weeks of Lent, grass will get greener, flowers will spring up, and leaves will once again return to the trees. But, most of all, over these six weeks of Lent we will experience God’s renewing power in our lives and spirits. We will have a chance to hit the “reset” button and prepare together for the saving grace of Easter. Thanks be to God for new beginnings!
Rev. Carol Cavin-Dillon
Lenten Devotionals 2021
Like so many occasions over the past year, this Lenten season will begin and end unlike any other we may remember. This Lenten season will see us mark a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began to cause shutdowns and introduced the term “social distancing” to our lexicon. This year, as we prepare our hearts and minds for the season of repentance and turning back to God, the idea of a “holy reset” seems so appropriate. As we look ahead not only to Easter, but a hopeful end to the pandemic, we have deviated from the normal Lenten Scriptures. This year we invite you to “re:set” with a variety of stories from the breadth of Scripture. Each one details a time when the people of God encountered the power of God to make things new. Weekly themes each begin with the prefix “re:” and include the following: re:new, re:name, re:construct, re:store, re:vive, and re:member. As you read the Scripture for a given week, we invite you to experience God’s goodness through your five senses. Each weekly devotion suggests experiences that can be enjoyed by all ages. We hope you will work through these devotionals at your own pace each week, and we pray that they will prepare you to celebrate the ultimate reset of Easter, where the very power of death is defeated by God’s loving grace.