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Lent: An Invitation to Ask Questions

– Karen Boyd

In northern Utah winter in the mountains is cold. I was raised in a small valley in those mountains, in an old two-story home that my grandfather built for his large family. My bedroom was upstairs where there wasno heat. On those freezing winter nights, I remember crawling into a cold bed laden with many well-used quilts stitched lovingly by my grandmother and her mother before her. At first, I curled up in a ball until the spot that I inhabited was warm. Then, I ever so slowly extended one foot into the cold spaces where the heat from my body had yet to reach. This exercise in patience would continue until I had a lovely warm cocoon and I slept soundly and warmly on those beautiful, quiet winter nights.

Each Lent I think of those nights. The necessary slowing down, the going under the covers. It is agoing within myself. Reaching out into the cold as reaching into the parts of myself that often remain unexamined. The chill as I find places within that need to light of God, places where I have not lived as I have promised God that I would. Not in any intentional way, certainly, but in my haste to live my life, to save time and money; but things get overlooked.

I love the confession in one of the Episcopal Church’s supplemental texts, “Enriching Our Worship”:

we repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf.

Lent offers us a time to search ourselves. Often evil takes the form of waste going into the landfill that is difficult to avoid, such as the packaging our food comes in. Sometimes we don’t stop to consider where that shirt comes from; was it made by child labor in a far-off country? These evils are pervasive in our world, but, if we slow down and think we can make choices to lessen the effect of this evil done on our behalf.

Lent is also a time to think about our lovely town of Abilene, even our church. Where do these communities fall short of the love of God for our neighbors? What can we change to bring all creation closer to the Kingdom of God? To bring justice for all creation?

All through this Lenten season, as we consider what we buy, what we discard, and what we say, we draw closer to the God who created and loves us. We settle into those quiet places within ourselves and our communities and we ask for God to: forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our savior Jesus Christ, that we may abide in your love, and serve only your will. Amen.


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