The COVID-19 pandemic started during Lent 2020, but a year ago we were just scrambling to make sense of what we needed to do. It was hard to think about how to do Lent when we were all just trying to buy toilet paper and learning how to do things virtually. Now, though, we’re about to enter into our second Lent of the pandemic. I told the church Elders it didn’t make sense to tell people to give up something for Lent when we’ve all been giving up so much during the whole last year. We’ve all had to fast from so many things already: trips, large gatherings, and restaurant meals are just a few. I think, though, this year’s Lent may be a unique opportunity for us to reflect upon suffering. We’ve all suffered this past year. Some have suffered through grief and loss and sickness, and others have suffered through giving up simple things like regular social gatherings and going to the movies. We’ve all suffered. Suffering can either make us jaded or make us compassionate. We’ve all known some who have suffered, and whose sufferings have made them bitter and resentful. We’ve probably also met those who have suffered, and their sufferings made them compassionate and humble. If we see our sufferings as a way to reflect on the sufferings of Jesus, and to recognize the sufferings of the world, then our sufferings can be a pathway to merciful and compassionate living. The season of Lent is an opportune time to reflect on these things.

I’m excited about a couple opportunities we’ll have during Lent. The first is our worship series we’ll be sharing during Lent called Holy Vessels. Our worship will be focused on a season of healing after we’ve suffered so much. I’ll also be doing a special video-based study on the seven last words from the cross. These will be    20-25 minute studies that I’ll pre-record and release each Wednesday morning during Lent. Each week I’ll reflect on one of the last things Jesus said while he was on the cross. You will find these videos on our church’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

I hope, as we begin the season of Lent, we’ll know healing and compassion while we’ve also known so much suffering.

Grace & peace,

Jason Jones