"This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It's also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both." - Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark.
We just had an extraordinary Sunday at our opening service! A transformative movement that could not be foreseen may have just got underway. But if Rebecca Solnit is right (and I think she is), then full engagement in this world means we need to cultivate our ability to see both the glorious and the grisly, the beautiful and the broken, the extraordinarily inspiring and the exhaustingly painful parts of life. To only see one or the other, is to grow either glib or cynical. Our world can't afford us to be either.
Lent is a season when we intentionally cultivate our ability to perceive suffering: both of Christ, and (since he suffered because of, on behalf of, and in solidarity with the suffering of our world) to perceive the pain of the world as well.
As a church, I hope we'll take up the challenge to fully engage. I hope we'll take up the challenge of Lent. We take it up knowing that God is with us in the lament, in the confession, in the pursuit of justice. The death of God's own Son tells us that God runs to us with abandon in the places of our pain, injustice, sin, and suffering.
As an aid this Lenten season, I hope you'll make use of a resource for daily reflection and prayer, written by two dear friends. Lenten Lamentations: Preparing to Participate in God's Mosaic Kingdom roots our daily prayers in Lent in actual events that happened in our world that we need, particularly as Christians to confess and lament. You can subscribe on their website to get a new devotional reflection/prayer sent to you each morning over the 40 days. Will you join me?