Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

Good Friday Lent Season and Holy Week concept. 1135048683 1185x889On March 2, Ash Wednesday, we turned the corner of the church year from the season of Epiphany into Lent, the forty days (we don’t count the Sundays, because as celebrations of the resurrection they are IN Lent, but not OF Lent) leading up to Easter.  Lent echoes the forty days that Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness after his baptism and before he began his public ministry in Galilee.  Through the centuries and across many denominations and traditions, Christians have prepared for the mystery and celebration of Easter by prayer, fasting and almsgiving.   

In past centuries fasting included absolute fasts on some days and abstention from meat, wine and dairy for the whole forty days.  For most in our branch of the Christian tree fasting has become “giving something up:” chocolate, wine, television, Facebook.  Even this kind of simple “fast” can be revelatory – showing us how dependent we are on having not just our needs but our desires met, how consumed our minds can become by an unmet desire.   And if we are attentive this can help us ask “what is the hunger beneath the hunger?”

Others echo the ritual prayer practices and almsgiving of earlier centuries by “taking on” some form of Lenten discipline – exploring a new prayer practice, adding devotional reading, giving to organizations that support people who are hungry or houseless, walking instead of driving short distances.  Or, perhaps as Jesuit brother Matt Wooters suggests, “sending letters to people you love, or folks on death row.” The goal is to add whatever will make your life more prayerful and loving.

This year as we turn the corner into Lent the world has also turned a corner into a new war with frightening geopolitical implications.  As I scroll through the news, I feel the internal drumbeat of urgency: “Don’t just sit there, DO something.”

And then, quietly, another voice responds: No, “don’t just do something, SIT there.”

This Lent we are invited to both do and sit:

As the lectionary focuses on the Gospel of Luke, with its clear call for justice, our mission and social justice team will help keep us informed about opportunities to act for justice in our world.   And we are invited to participate in the Lenten Series offered by the CPC Palestine Israel Network: “Embodying the Way of the Prince of Peace” (Saturday mornings at 10, beginning March 12).

On Wednesday evenings we will gather to sit together for virtual vespers, a quiet service of songs, silence, and different prayer practices--breath prayer, the loving-kindness meditation and the examen.  To facilitate your practice of “sitting there,” copies of Kate Bowler’s Lenten devotional “A Good Enough Lent” will be available in the narthex.  You can also download it https://katebowler.com/lent/

Together we will act and listen, open to the holiness of Lent.