Letter from the Pastor
During Lent (the 40 days before Easter excluding Sundays that were set aside as a time of penitential reflection and countering the pagan rites associated with Spring), Christians in the western
European tradition often do actions that are intended to heighten their spirituality or give evidence of their repentance to God. “Giving something up for Lent” is the most common expression of this practice.
I do not personally emphasize the giving up aspect of the spiritual journey. I find it more helpful to aim at spiritual growth. Quite often that means increasing the freedom we experience when we become more aware of our connection to the divine and to all life. I came to this understanding when I realized that the fear in “fear of the LORD” meant that overwhelming awe we experience when we see a baby being born, view the Grand Canyon for the first time, or hear music that touches our hearts.
Serendipitous moments of synchronicity (better understood as those “aha” moments) when the meaning of life becomes more profound may be the goal of an intentional spiritual journey. Contemplating the stars on a clear night away from city lights, having your heart break at the heartbreak that someone shares with you, seeing the joy that you helped create in the eyes of another person, and experiencing emotional intimacy – these are all times when we grow spiritually. I don’t list these to say you don’t need to come to a worship service to grow spiritually but to point out that our spiritual journeys continue beyond what happens in a church building. Any time we increase the depth of our connections with other people and with nature we are also increasing our connection with God.
May we all open our hearts, move our feet, and express our love in ways that intentionally reflect divine love. That journey is always one worth taking.