I have to tell you the truth, my thoughts and emotions have been so often concerned with the Covid-19 pandemic that I sort have forgotten that we’re in the season of Lent. Every once in a while, it dawns on me and I sort of just stop in my tracks and I wonder, Rats, I’m just not thinking about Lent… what about my Lenten discipline? What about my Lenten reading?
Lent is often imagined as a wilderness event. A time for isolation and introspection. Isolation is not the worst of this new reality we find ourselves in. For many health and livelihood are at stake. We are all thrown into a world of fear, uncertainty and anxiety.
We might be tempted to question to reliability of faith in these times. Where was God when this happened or is this God’s judgement on us? Much like the disciples in today’s Gospel reading. Jesus dismisses these ideas. These things happen and God will be revealed. We must work the works of him who sent us.
In a very short period of time we’ve all had our lives disrupted by the pandemic. Disruption is not easy; nor is the fear and uncertainty we are feeling.
Richard Rohr, Franciscan priest and modern-day mystic, wrote, “We are in the midst of a highly teachable moment. There’s no doubt that this period will be referred to for the rest of our lifetimes. We have a chance to go deep, and to go broad. Depth is being forced on us by great suffering, which as I like to say, always leads to great love. But for God to reach us, we have to allow suffering to wound us.”
So the challenge for us is to slow down, accept this new reality, listen for the deeper lessons that this can teach us. In the midst of it all, remember to lean into the consolation of the truth that God is always present always compassion, always love.
I’ll end with a wonderful prayer from the BCP keeps coming back to me. It’s a collect from evening prayer.
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.