Deans' Note Feb. 28, 2021

This year the ancient practices of Lent have to be reimagined. Prayer, study, fasting, and almsgiving help us grow in Christ and prepare us to recommit ourselves to the promises of our baptism, but how to do this as we still move through Covid time?

While we can't worship physically (although we do plan to resume the 8:00 mass on March 14), The liturgies available online on the Sundays of Lent help us to examine our lives as we hear the ten commandments each week, and the great stories of God's covenant with us are retold in the biblical readings.

We can explore our spiritual lives together with Mother Lyn for three weeks (beginning this evening February 26) at 6:30 pm. We encourage you to join the Zoom meeting available on St. John's community page on Facebook, or simply listen in on the general St. John's Facebook page. On the last two Fridays in Lent, join in the Stations of the cross at the same 6:30 pm time slot.

We can study together on Sunday mornings at 9:30 as we look at Jesus' last journey to Jerusalem in our exploration of Mark's Gospel and on March 21 join noted biblical archeologist Jonathan Reed discuss what the last days of Jesus' life would have been like in first-century Jerusalem.

We also can make a virtual pilgrimage using the guide available on our website exploring several architectural and artistic features of our building with photographs focusing on imagery of Jesus' passion [Click here to exlpore].

We don't need to be out in the world to engage in fasting -- that can be from meals or certain foods or drinks especially as a means of identifying with those who have less than we do and have no choice but to fast.

Fasting is related to almsgiving or service. As we discussed before Ash Wednesday, what acts of service and compassion can you engage in even when you may still need to be relatively isolated from others? There is always the ability to reach out to others through a phone call or text message -- who have you lost connection with in the past year? Or maybe you can make a special gift to a social service ministry that engages in positive change in our community or the world. Or if you're able, venture out to engage in a volunteer ministry.

Finally, bathe all this in personal, daily prayer. It's best to set time aside and be consistent. We also have the ability to come together communally every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 pm for evening prayer, we encourage you to join us.

While these practices may not be how we are used to practicing Lent, they are still lenten practices. And remember that none of this is meant to make Gid like us more we already are God's beloved. They are meant to bring us closer to God and live more in tune with God's Kingdom. Remember the wisdom of the simple prayer of St. Richard of Chichester:

Thanks be to you, our Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which you have given us, for all the pains and insults which you have borne for us. Most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, may we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen.