March 28, 2020

Six More Weeks of Lent

Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

-Paul (Romans 6:4)

    A couple of upsides to this challenging time have already made themselves apparent to me. First, I have grown in appreciation for my mundane patterns in their absence. I will smile broadly rather than grumble about the ordinariness of life when it returns. Second, my far-flung, busy family has way more time on their hands than usual. We will have more recurring Facebook meetings; at least for a while. With a toddler grandbaby in the mix, the episodes often devolve into hilarity. I hope the laughter persists as we plod through these days.

    One humorous text message hitched onto our family chain. It had to do with Pope Francis canceling Rome’s Easter celebrations. Wow! Amazing…and sad. Humans seek humor even in tragedy, however. A responder announced that Jesus saw his shadow, so there will be six more weeks of Lent! I chortled mightily at the comment, even though my mind’s ear heard my late-mother’s disapproving response. Ouch! Truth is, it looks like a more-Lenten spirit will overshadow us past Easter Sunday. More preparing the ground. More introspection. More looking at our own lives. More wondering who we have been and who we will become. More realizing that we WILL be different in some ways, major or minor. HOW then will that be? We’ve got time to contemplate that question.

    One thing I always say about Lent is that we remain Easter people, even as we make a forty-day effort to tone down our personal and corporate lives. We schmear ashes on our foreheads and put on our somber faces…but we know the end of the story: Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father! We do our best to feel the awfulness of Good Friday; AND we know that Sunday’s comin’! Even during Lent, we are Resurrection People!

    Each year we have the date of Easter posted on the calendar. Not this year, in some ways. Yes, the listing denotes April 12th as Easter Sunday. Pretty good chance our lock-down situation will mandate six more weeks of Lent. We aren’t yet so sure of the end of this story. When will our not-always-beloved routines return? When will be not have to fight crowds to buy hand sanitizer and toilet paper and milk? When will our kids get out from under our feet? When will we happily return to our work cubicles? When will we pile into the Sanctuary, pull out all the organ stops, and scream, Jesus Christ is ris’n today, Alle…? We don’t know. Sigh!!

    Of this, with Paul, I am sure: Therefore we have been buried with [Jesus] by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Our Celebration of the Resurrection may be postponed this year. The truth of Jesus’ resurrection will never change; nor the new life that is ours because of that one day long ago. All the other ordinary stuff can be taken away. Good grief, I’m a part of the susceptible population! I could die of Covid-19. I count myself a part of the Resurrection Crowd, however. I will cling to, live, and die (someday for sure) in that truth. Even though it feels like Lent will be extended for six weeks, every morning remains Easter morning…from now on!

Prayer: Gracious God, as we travel though whatever the “here-and-now” has to offer, we hold fast to this unchanging truth: we are your resurrection people! We thank you; in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings, Pastor Zomermaand

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