From Lenten Guide 2023
Dear St. John’s,
We exist in the rhythms of our culture, the new year and the seasons, the academic year and holidays, secular observations of boating seasons and gardening, and regular openings and closings. In addition to our annual observations, there are the cycles of growth and rebirth, the life cycles of organizations, and here at St. John’s, the circle of the church year.
These regulated and apportioned schedules provide a structure to our days — a framework for our lives. Things change, and we age, but at the same time, the familiar undergirds our days, and that is comforting.
This is a season of rebirth at St. John’s. In the lifecycle of our parish, new things are happening. We see new faces in the pews. We are singing new hymns on occasion. We are trying on new ways to pray, and at the same time, the comfortable and familiar are ever-present. We know what to expect come Ash Wednesday and heading into the season of Lent. The Great Litany, that ancient and beautiful prayer which anchors the season on the First Sunday of Lent, is the same as it ever was. And as we journey towards Easter, preparing our hearts and souls for the resurrection of Christ, the worship services are timeless and traditional. The Easter Vigil service observed on the Saturday night before Easter Sunday is perhaps the most ancient liturgy in existence. It is like stepping back in time to the early church and worshiping God with the new fire, candlelight, and baptism.
This is our calling as Christians, to walk a delicate line between tradition and boldness in our worship of God and our actions in the world.
One thing I invite you to consider in this season is going on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In April 2024, St. John’s will be taking a group on A Journey to the Holy Land. I will lead this pilgrimage with the assistance of local guides Canon Iyad Qumri and Rami Qumri. A pilgrimage differs from a vacation or a trip in that it is sacred journey, a once in a lifetime experience, in which the participants are transformed by exploring the self and being in community along the way.
If you are interested at all, I encourage you to come to the Pilgrimage Information Session on Monday, March 20th, at 6:00 PM in the Parish Hall.
As we move into this season together, we begin another journey that intersects time and location. Be vulnerable to the process. You may have “done” Lent before, but you were not the same then as you are today. Allow Lent to happen to you and be surprised by the ways in which God shows up. Attend something different. Try a new service, class, or Bible study. Sit somewhere different. These little bits of change open your heart to God, and who knows what might happen.
In grace and peace,