Dear Parish Family,
In our religious tradition, around this time of year we ask each other, “What are you giving up for Lent?” The answer may be chocolate, or adult beverages, or coffee. Maybe we add a new practice like daily prayer or scripture reading. We look for ways to enrich our spiritual lives, both by subtracting things and adding things.
This season, the world has imposed a nearly year-long “Lent” on all of us. We have given up having coffee with friends, going to the movies, eating in restaurants, even going to church. We have added the practices of handwashing, masking, social distancing. We have had to learn new ways to work and to worship. An almost monastic isolation has been imposed on us, as we are atomized into family groups and individual homes.
The word “Lent” itself comes from the old English “lencten,” which means “spring season.” Even during a normal year, the austerities of Lent are played out against a background of the greening of the world and the emergence of buds and flowers. Nature itself offers us the promise of a coming end to the dark and cold.
So it is with our year-long “Lent.” There is a promise that we are beginning to emerge from this long time of the discipline that has been imposed on all of us by the pandemic. We have all experienced “on-the-job training,” so to speak, in many aspects of our daily life. Public health practices which we had never thought of a year ago are now part of our daily routine. Even the least technologically savvy among us have learned to use Zoom, and help our children with online learning.
Now, there are signs of a new, hopeful flowering. Vaccines are finally available, and may soon be in greater quantities. Warming weather may soon make it possible to gather in parks and front porches with our friends.
Whether or not this year of Lent has been a spiritual journey is up to each of us individually. We can reflect on what we have learned about ourselves, and about our relationships to God and to each other. We have had to come to a different relationship with our church home. What has that meant to us? How have we used our time alone and with our families? How have we been affected by illness and death of those around us? If we have experienced COVID-19 ourselves, how has it changed us? Are we changed for the better by these challenges?
My hope for each of us is that we emerge healthy and more spiritually aware from this Lent that the world has offered us.
Rev. John Borrego
Priest at St. John’s
St. John’s Episcopal Church
235 W Duffy StNorman, OK 73069Office Phone (405) 321-3020