Dear Church Community,
I write this on Ash Wednesday, as Putin marches on Ukraine, many other people suffer under violence and tyranny worldwide, and LGBTQ+ children and adults in our own country are oppressed by attitudes and laws that prevent them from being safe, accepted, and equal.
This is the time and place in which we live. Yet, as T.S. Eliot wrote in Ash Wednesday, “Time is always time, and place is always and only place.” I think perhaps he meant, as followers of Jesus, we trust in more than just the obvious, outward time and place, more than just the tempo of war drum and empire of war lords. We believe in God’s Kingdom, one that values, loves, and cares about every human life. And this empire, kingdom, or community exists right here and now, even as the tanks roll, unjust laws are passed, and mortal beings die in the streets.
During Lent we mourn all the sinfulness of our kind (i.e., the many ways we individually and collectively “miss the mark”). At the same time, we trust this Season moves us, inexorably, toward Easter, when we’ll celebrate the reality that Love is always and ultimately more powerful than hate. We choose to believe if a heart lives with love, though pierced by a bullet or a sword, its beat goes on.
Our Lenten Theme for 2022 is Trust. Which I suspect may be challenging for many of us. How do we trust that “all will be well” (as St. Julian wrote) in a world that contains such violence and injustice without resorting to platitudes and shallow thinking? It ain’t easy! But I encourage you to join me for worship each Sunday as we find our way forward, together…
In the meanwhile, if you feel called to assist, pray with, or learn more about Ukraine, click here.
If you’d like to order a $3 PDF of this year’s UCC Lenten Devotional, The Long Haul, written by the Still Speaking Writer’s Group, click here.
If you want a copy of this year’s Lenten Creation Care Calendar for DC, MD, or VA, created by Interfaith Power and Light, click here.
And, if you’d like to join me for a six-week Lenten Series: Jesus De/Constructed, led by Diana Butler Bass and Tripp Fuller, click here. The cost is by donation, and the series will focus on two books: Diana’s “Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence” and Tripp’s “The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to Jesus: Lord, Liar, Lunatic . . . Or Awesome?”
Finally, if you weren’t able to join the Jazz Vespers Service we co-hosted at Peoples UCC last Saturday, I encourage you to watch it now: A Fierce Love Jazz Vespers with Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis. It offers a powerful message of hope, love, fierce determination, and transformation.
With you on the Journey,
P.S. I’m delighted to share the following from our Past Moderator, Holly Hancock:
I’m on my friend Rev. Kelsey Beebe’s Lady Preacher podcast this week! Some of you have read Kelsey’s Lenten devotional, Searching for Hope and Grace, or I may have passed on other episodes of her progressive Christian podcast to you in the past.
Kelsey (an ordained UCC minister and fellow yoga teacher) and I talk about parallels between practicing yoga and practicing Christianity, and how faith influences activism. I mention our church’s racial justice audit, and you’ll hear some familiar phrases from Ellen and the UCC.
If you’d like to listen, click here Dancing Pastor/Lady Preacher and scroll down for the episode. You can also find the podcast on all major streaming apps like Spotify, I heart radio, Apple podcasts, etc.