The Fifth Sunday in Lent
Are you starting to feel a bit fidgety, having been “stuck” in your homes for the past couple of weeks? You’ve cleaned out cupboards, closets, cars, garages; you’ve vacuumed everything three times; you’ve baked six loaves of bread and dozens of cookies; you’ve binge-watched those programs you always promised yourself that you would “someday.” Your school-aged children are bored and irritated with having to stay at home, unable to visit with their friends. Your dogs are thrilled that you’re spending more time at home, snuggling up to you while you try to work on the sofa with your laptop and attend meetings via ZOOM. You’re wondering when this “stay-at-home” routine will end and life can return to “normal.”
Our Scripture reading for Sunday comes from the Gospel According to John, in which Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, falls ill, dies, and – spoiler alert – is resurrected by Jesus. Lazarus was in the tomb already for four days. Several different authors of articles I’ve been reading have posed the idea that we consider our homes like Lazarus’ tomb. We’re “stuck in one place,” and life won’t return to “normal” until our government leaders release us and say it’s safe to “come out.” While we’re inside, what are we “dying to?” Have we forgotten about Lent, about what we added as a spiritual practice to our lives to invite more of the Realm of God into our midst? Or have we forgotten about what we gave up, forgoing that Lenten practice because life is hard enough being “stuck at home” without the added pressure of Lent? While we’ve been under this Coronavirus “stay-at-home” policy for longer than four days, and we don’t know how much longer it will be, we have other options. We CAN go outdoors, we CAN visit with friends on the phone, we CAN walk our dogs, we CAN embrace this time as a tremendous gift.
Lent is a time for us to slow down, to turn inwards, to cultivate spiritual practices that tend our spirit. What an interesting time for the Coronavirus to appear, almost like a gift, forcing us to slow down, to stop, to breathe deeply, to wonder, to listen, to wait. Just as Advent is about wondering and waiting, so, too, is Lent. We are wondering what will happen, we are waiting for what is to happen. We are waiting for Resurrection. We are waiting for Spring, for new life to appear. What new life will appear in each one of us when we are resurrected from our Covid-19 tombs? What new life will appear in us communally, as a faith community? I’ve seen some signs of new life appearing already – have you?
Join us this Sunday via ZOOM for our Worship Gathering in the Midst. Watch your e-mail inbox for an invitation! I look forward to seeing you again.
With Peace, Grace, and Love in the Time of Coronavirus,
~ Rev. Stacy