After all, it has been exactly a year since the rapidly unfolding COVID pandemic required us to close the Christ the King building. We moved our worship, faith formation, and community-building online. We learned not just how to tune in to worship, but to truly participate in online church in a whole new way. Summer and fall gave us opportunities to experiment with both drive-in and homegrown worship, even as our worship team became more accustomed to (if not particularly fond of) preaching and leading to a camera in an otherwise empty Sanctuary. A year on, however, we might well wonder if it is Lent again or still!
The season of Lent is a time for reflection, repentance, and renewal—a time for turning toward and returning to God. We tend to think of Lent as a particularly somber time marked by self-sacrifice, but as we’ve been reminded many times already by our Bible readings this season, repentance is not so much a scary appearance before an angry God, but a homecoming to a loving parent one who lavishly celebrates our return. Normally, Lent lasts for forty days (not counting Sundays, as Sundays are considered “little Easters” and therefore not really part of Lent). Traditionally, these forty days were a time when people new to the Christian faith prepared for baptism at Easter.
This year, though, I continue to wonder for what else we are being prepared.
- Are we being prepared for the new life which awaits us on the other side of this pandemic, including a new and renewed life together as Christ’s Beloved Community?
- Are we being prepared to live out our baptism in a slightly different way, now that we have experienced some of the challenging and rewarding aspects of connecting with one another electronically and at a distance?
- Are we being prepared to rethink the way we gather, the way we offer our ministry, the way we use our building, the way equip our staff, and the way we empower our members for ministry?
- Are we being prepared to recalibrate what’s most important about Life at CtK—what is central, even essential to our life as disciples in this time and place?
We walk through the season of Lent holding fast to the promise of Easter, praying as we journey that Christ would be made known to us again this year in new and inspiring ways. Let us also walk through what remains of this year-long Lenten-like season of COVID, praying as we journey that God would reveal to us the new life in Christ for which we are being prepared.