Before I get into more important matters, I want to offer a personal update. Most of you are aware that the virus hit our household. One of the kids tested positive and had a very mild case; the rest of the family has tested negative and remained asymptomatic. I appreciate the prayers many of you have offered on our behalf. We have quarantined closely for the last two weeks, and barring no surprises, we will be out and about after this Friday.
It is hard to believe that Lent is already upon us. This is significant – it was the middle of Lent last year when the pandemic forced shut down of large gatherings, and that affected worship. For the most part, we’ve been virtual, using Facebook live for worship services, and Zoom for meetings. I know it’s not ideal, because the whole congregation doesn’t use internet technology, but it’s the best we have. The good news is that Covid-19 cases are dropping, though they are still extremely high, and the virus is still a very real threat.
Lent is always a special season in the life of Christ’s followers. It allows us the chance to look inward and consider how are spiritual journey is going. It provides a time to consider how we are far from Christ and what we can do to draw near to Him. Many people choose to “give up” something during Lent, a practice derived from the ancient Christian practice of fasting and prayer during the forty days that lead up to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Lent begins after Ash Wednesday, which is this coming Wednesday. We typically have a worship service that includes the imposition of ashes, and this is a very meaningful moment for those who look forward to this service.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, we are doing Ash Wednesday a little differently this year. First, weather permitting, there will be a Do-it-Yourself ashes station at the walkway near the main sidewalk on Washington Street. It will be “open” 7am-6pm, and I will be responsible for it, checking on it throughout the day. Again, if it’s raining, snowing, or very windy (wipes and paper towels will go everywhere) we won’t have it this way. In the evening, we will have a short worship service focusing on prayers and music at 7pm via Facebook live.
My hope and prayer is that these two accommodations will make this Ash Wednesday as meaningful as possible. Lent is a great season to renew our commitment to Christ and to experience God in some deep, intimate ways. May God bless us as we enter this special season!