Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today, we begin the season of Lent—a time to prepare our hearts for Holy Week and Easter, the apex of the liturgical year. Lent, which lasts forty days (excluding Sundays), provides us with an opportunity to focus once again on what is most important. In the midst of life’s busyness, it is easy to elevate quotidian concerns and put our spiritual health on the back burner; it’s easy to lose sight of where our peace, joy, and hope truly reside. Lent shakes us out of our complacency and invites us to examine our relationship with God: What is missing? What needs healing or nurturing? Where is the God’s Holy Spirit leading me at this time in my life?

To facilitate your engagement with these vital questions, let me offer a few suggestions for you this Lent.

First, make time to worship and listen to God. Worship, whether on Sunday mornings, or during the work week with Morning Prayer and Compline, cultivates gratitude in us and opens our hearts to the stirrings of the Spirit.

Second, learn something new about God and the Christian life. Our journey towards God continues; none of us is already a fully formed disciple of Jesus Christ. On Wednesday nights in Lent, I will be leading a series on the theology of the Cross, exploring questions such as: why did the Romans crucify Jesus? What significance does he death have for us and the whole creation? What images does the Bible use to communicate the meaning of this world-changing event? The Cross is a rich source for theological reflection, and this series will help you grow in your knowledge and love of the Lord. Wednesday Lenten sessions begin on February 24 and meet from 6:30-8:00pm on Zoom. Additionally, St. Paul’s will offer a five-part series on food justice, starting Thursday, February 25. Sessions will last from 5:00-6:00pm and take place every other week. This series is intended to help improve our relationship with God’s creation and learn how we can alleviate food insecurity in our community and beyond. (For more information on this exciting series, please contact Director of Adult Spirituality and Formation, Debbie Scott.

Lastly, I encourage you this Lent to strengthen your relationships with others, to deepen your love of neighbor. What can you do to bring wholeness into the lives of others? How can you reflect the light of Christ at a time when many feel overwhelmed by the darkness during this ongoing pandemic? When we serve others, we serve Christ, because he lives in all of us. Lent is a gift to us from God. May we all embrace receive this gift with thankfulness and faithfulness.

Your brother in Christ,

Justin+


Contributors to the 2021 Lenten Devotional

Carolyn & Bill Achenbach
Jeffri Adkins
Pat Alderman
Patty Breckoff
Charles Chabot
Valerie Cole
Julia Franz
Ashley Geisler
Evelyn Gorman
Carol Hagen
Ruth Mary Hall
Lee Herbert
Bill Joyner
LeeAnn McCall
Abby Palko
Bob Pate
Stella Prevost
Martha Roberts
Krista Rodgers
Debbie Scott
Christian Simmers
Karen Smith
Anne Spillers
Martha Tilman
Tom Torrance
Jane Vale
Kathy Wesson
Elizabeth Wharton
Larry Whitlock
Bob Wilcox
The Rev. Dr. Ann Willms
Liz Wright
Paul Yesawich

Musicians
Daniel Brinson
Dr. Elizabeth Joyner
Justin Esposito
Elizabeth Suoranta
Peter Hunter
Raven Hunter
The Adult Choir of St. Paul’s, Ivy
The Children’s & Youth Choirs of St. Paul’s, Ivy