Rector's Note: Letting Love In
I hope this email finds you warm, safe, and well. It’s been quite the last few days with the severe snow storm and the damage it caused. People have been without power and unable to leave their houses, a good part of the city was shut down, even Zoom classes were canceled.
And somewhere in the middle of all of that Lent began!
I thought our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Diana Akiyama, addressed the difficulty of observing Lent this year well. In her Ash Wednesday message, she talked about feeling like she didn’t want to give up anything this Lent because we’ve given up so much already. At the same time, she recognized the value of another type of fast this year, proposing that we “give up” the things that prevent us from experiencing God’s love. She writes, “Yes, we are tired and worn out by this pandemic. And even so, God calls us to set aside our resistance and to let in that wondrous love that surpasses all understanding even as we acknowledge that we are dust and to dust we shall return.”
Indeed, our Lenten fasting might need to look different this year. Maybe we don’t give up the traditional chocolate, Netflix, or whatever small pleasure is helping us make it through the day, but instead ask ourselves if there’s anything to “give up” so that God’s love can become more of our daily reality or so that we as the church become Beloved Community. It could be things like giving up our desire to control, looking down on ourselves, or looking down on others, each of which inhibits our ability to love God and neighbor.
Likewise, the Lenten practices we “take on” can be things that let God’s love in. There are people and places, prayers and passages of scripture, music, even certain kinds of food that do this. Bishop Curry’s book, Love Is the Way, which we will read together this Lent, is also such a vehicle.
Giving things up and taking things on can be part of how we keep the channel of God’s love open, flowing, and unobstructed as we give and receive it. Whatever you choose to do or not do this Lent, I hope it helps you experience God’s wondrous love.
The Rev. Andria Skornik