Welcome, beloved community, to your 2021 Lenten devotional! Welcome to the members of our community that we see every day, and those who love us from afar.
Welcome to a time to change our hearts and lives. Welcome to a time that we set aside for fasting, for sharing our resources, for justice. Welcome to a time that we take to turn towards God. Welcome to a time when we can be honest about all the dry places in our lives and ask for God’s renewal. Welcome to remembering the waters of our baptism and knowing that they mean that God has got us.
Welcome to remembering that we are beloved and that God is faithful to us even now, especially now. Welcome to this journey that we take together as a community, even if it’s a little bit different this year.
Welcome, beloved. We hope you enjoy this collaborative community project we have lovingly crafted together for you. We pray it enriches your Lenten season and helps you feel connected to our community.
Ash Wednesday Devotional
Author: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
Reflection: v. 12, ‘the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in’
How strange it feels to once again be preparing for Lent, as in some ways I still feel stuck in March of last year—caught in a perpetual season of penitence and reflection on our past mistakes. And yet in other ways, it feels as if so much has transpired it is a wonder to me that it has only been 12 months since we last gathered together to smear ashes on foreheads and remember our mortality. I will speak for myself in saying I will not be needing such a tangible reminder of death this year. This year I have buried too many dear congregants, made too many strategic and difficult sacrifices for the safety of my family, mourned too many lives gone in a nation wracked in discord, and lost too much sleep to fear and concern for my community. This year mortality has followed behind my shoulder, ever creeping into view like a persistent, haunting ghost. And while this year I do not need ashes or a liturgical reminder to turn my thoughts inward, I do mourn the missed chance to reach outward and tenderly touch the flesh of another’s face without fear of sharing too closely the air we all breathe. Because as we begin yet another season of Lent—still distanced, still mourning, still isolated, still with so much work to do—I am reminded deep in my lonely bones how much I depend upon others, how much we need one another. In this passage from Isaiah, the prophet paints for us an image of a justice-making community—where our ‘fasting’ leads to a world made more righteous by the ways we care for one another. My prayer for us this Lent is that, in this season of many transitions, we may seek to do this work of justice—the work that cares for us all, binds us together even as we feel isolated, repairs breaches, and makes our streets places of life once more.
Prayer Restore us, O Lord, and repair our broken places. Make our streets safe again.