Our Lent Begins This Sunday
February 11, 2021
I’m so excited to start Lent with all of you this Sunday. Below I’m reposting my “three ways to get ready” from last week. Before you read that and mark your calendar, here are three other things I want you to know.
I was blessed to be able to get my first dose of COVID vaccine this weekend. I was bringing my elderly mother-in-law for her first shot, at a clinic where my mother works part-time. Because I am an immediate family member of an employee there, they allowed me to be vaccinated as well. Though my shoulder was sore for two days, I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in our public health fight to protect us all and restore a more normal public life again. While all vaccines are personal medical decisions, of course, I do encourage you to go ahead and get vaccinated whenever you are able and it is your turn, as our collective, timely participation in the vaccine campaign will help us all!
One of our church partners, Asha, has done the most extraordinary public health work throughout the pandemic. Drs. Jean and John Peteet, who have both been to India with me to consult for and partner with Asha, are co-authors on a great paper highlighting what Asha has been doing over the past year. I encourage you to give it a look. As one part of our Beloved Community commitment to radical generosity, Reservoir gives 10% of our church tithes and offerings to partner ministry and organizations. Asha is one of our five leading partnerships, so everytime you give to Reservoir, you give a little bit to Asha as well.
Yesterday, we told Reservoir parents, caregivers, and children’s and youth teams that our pastor Kim Messenger who oversees our whole kids and youth ministry, will resign from her position at the end of December. Kim has done fabulous work for us over the past decade for which we are so grateful. She has decided, though, to move toward a lifestyle of less public church ministry and fewer weekend leadership commitments. Yesterday, I shared with our parents and kids teams more extensively about my appreciation for Kim, and our process for ensuring we preserve and grow our kids and youth ministry in the months and years to come. As more details come together, I’ll share them with you all in this space as well. Meanwhile, please pray for Kim, our kids and parents, and Reservoir leadership as we appreciate Kim’s years of service and navigate this transition.
And lastly, a reminder of three ways to prepare this week for Lent!
- Put three dates in your calendar please!
- Plan on being at our online church service on Zoom on Sunday, February 14th, at 10:00 a.m. During the sermon I’ll introduce the season, which continues each Sunday until Easter. As usual, we upload our service to YouTube and our website after they are over, if another time or platform is preferable for you.
- Also this weekend starting Friday, plan on when you’ll pick up your “Lent in a bag” from us. It will have a paper copy of the season’s Bible guide and several objects which will be part of the spiritual practices we invite you to throughout the season. You can also pick up a bag for a friend or ask someone to pick one up for you. And if you need us to drop one off or mail one to you, please fill out this form.
- If you are able, join us for a very short online Ash Wednesday service, on Zoom on Wednesday, February 17th at 7:00 p.m.
- Let us know if you’re grieving the loss of a friend or a loved one who has passed away, whether their death was this year or sometime last year. At our Ash Wednesday service 2/17, we will remember in prayer people we love who have died in recent months. When a pastor places ashes on our head at the start of Lent (or this year, when we place them on our own heads), we are remembering our weakness and mortality – that we sin and that we die. And we are asking God for forgiveness for our sin, and also for courage to follow Jesus with hope in these short lives of ours. We find it fitting this year to also remember our grief on this occasion. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one this year, send their name and date of death to Kim Messenger – firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Begin to consider what is most important to you this year, as well as any ways you may have forgotten who you are. We’ll be guided in this theme during Lent by some of the Bible’s prophets, who speak of issues very relevant in our lives and society. Three quotations from Jerome Berryman, founder of Godly Play, have guided me in recent months as I’ve been preparing for this season:
“Prophets are people who come so close to God, and God comes so close to them, that they know what is most important.” We hope this Lent to lean toward God and to discover or rediscover what is most important.
“Prophets are people who know the most important things. They know which way to go. They are the ones who show us the way.” Our church doesn’t try to define what should be most important for all of us; we don’t tell you exactly which way to go. But we believe that as we lean toward God in prayer and listen to the prophets, the Spirit of God will be our teacher and guide and show us each some of what is most important as well as show us the way forward.
“Sometimes people forget who they are. They hide from God and pretend God isn’t there.”