We will begin the season of Lent this month with Ash Wednesday on February 18. Lent is perhaps the most meaningful part of the church calendar for me. It is a time when we are encouraged to be reflective and to consider deeply what is at the foundation of our faith and values as a human being and a follower of Christ. I am always deeply moved by the fully human one who is sent to us from God to assume all the joys and sorrows of the human condition.
As I reflect on Unexpected Places, the theme of General Synod (the biennial national meeting of the UCC) for 2015, and as I consider the changes in my life with the loss of my mother and other significant family situations, I suspect that my Lenten reflections will be on those unexpected places when God showed up in my life. As a minister whose primary vocation has been as an interim, there is no hesitancy about entering those unfamiliar and new places and situations. There is actually a part of me that relishes the new and is excited about the undiscovered things to be revealed in new relationships and locations and challenges. But would I be so excited if I knew the cost of this kind of discipleship in detail if it meant that I would have to give my life for my faith.
What does it mean for my life and my ministry when I find myself at the foot of the cross or standing at the entrance of the empty tomb? What does it mean for my life and my ministry when I pray and seek to find a way to respond to the human violence and suffering in the world? What does it mean for my life and my ministry when I am asked to step into a new place to witness to another person or to a struggling community what hope and renewal and life lived fully might look like?
I hope that during this reflective season you will be blessed with the vision to see the places where God has shown up in your life, in the life of your church, in the life of the community around you. Each of us will experience grace in our own way. May that experience lead to reflection, prayer, joy, and even a tear or two as we walk this faithful road seeking the Christ to be revealed to us unawares in the midst of our daily comings and goings.