Lent and Sacrifice During Covid-19
We are moving through the season of Lent – a season of reflection, of fasting and prayer, of intentional sacrifice. In 2021, when we’ve sacrificed so much of the world as we knew it for an entire year, how do we observe this season? What if we just don’t want to give up more? How do we still choose to slow down and reflect on our world in the here and now, and spiritually prepare for whatever might be coming next?
We have already given up so much. I think of my parents just a few miles away, missing their grandchildren, our relationship marred by a year of careful circling, rather than laughing over shared meals and bear hugs. I think of losing an old friend to Covid. I think about being unable to travel to North Carolina to help a dear friend bury her husband who died of ALS last month, and how another friend has had to postpone a memorial service for her husband, who died last August of cancer. There is a tangible emotional toll when we are unable to gather and experience shared grief.
We've given up restaurants, church, concerts and after-work happy hours; libraries, birthday parties and school in any normal sense; we've surrendered the comfort of seeing one another's smiles. It's easy to feel like it's all too much, too long, and too hard, as if giving up something else this year is just beyond what anyone should attempt. It's then that I remind myself that all this sacrifice has -- for this whole heartbreakingly challenging year -- at its root some hope of keeping one another well, of helping us all to make it through this difficult season together.
I'm reminded of signs posted around town that read "masking up is an act of love." So, I resolve to slow down; to make that love intentional in my daily life. As I keep my distance, as I wear my mask, as I register to get vaccinated, I do it for my family, for my colleagues, for my neighborhood, for the love of the community in which I live. And I wait with anticipation for Easter, for the rising and renewal and rebirth that will surely come.
Abba Father. Infinite Spirit. God of beginnings and endings.
God of love and compassion, wrap your mighty arms around the sick, afraid and isolated. For those who are lonely, be their consolation; for those who are forlorn, be their hope; in their dark, be the light.
Dear Lord, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated.
For we shall not be people of fear: we shall be people of courage. We are your people God, giving and loving, wherever we are, whatever it costs as long as it takes wherever you call us.