by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter February 28, 2019

If I am confessing, the truth is I love the Lenten season. These weeks leading up to Easter prepare us to celebrate the resurrection through introspection, confession, repentance, and redemption. If the season after Epiphany calls us to look for the light, then the Lenten season encourages honesty about the darkness that we see in ourselves and in the world. Lent begins with confession, after which we stagger forward toward redemption.

What we consider in worship will take us beyond the Valentines, candies, cupids and the sea of red of the Hallmark holiday. The love celebrated during Lent reflects nothing less than the heartbreaking depths of the love of God and the heart-healing work of love in our lives. We are reminded of the world’s brokenness so that we might rejoice at the world’s redemption. J.R.R. Tolkien writes, “The world is indeed full of peril, and in it, there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” It is this greater Love, of which we speak. This is Lenten love.

Brokenness and blessedness mark this world, each evokes a response. We will be featuring a gallery of crosses in our church building. Do you have a cross that marks a particular moment in your life? Maybe an artful cross you got as a souvenir or a gift during a difficult time in your life? In this season we pay particular attention to that which breaks the heart of God. Crosses are a good reminder of that truth. I look forward to seeing the beautiful collection of crosses you bring, as beautiful as the varied faces in our congregation. We name the brokenness of this world and the brokenness within us, and we long for the healing that begins at Easter. As we enter the Lenten season, we work to kindle the love of God, the love of others and the love of self in our lives. The beauty of healing and new life will be seen in my favorite cross of this season: our flowered cross on Easter Sunday morning. This season will help us to remember what it means to look into the world really love God, to look in the mirror and really recognize the person that you see, to look across the street and around the world and love other people. There are essential activities for you, your children and your youth. I hope you will answer the call to Love and join us in this season of worship.