It’s probably been a while since you last had an in person visit with a new doctor. Shortly before COVID-19 turned such occasions from routine to rare, I had an appointment with a new GP. After presenting my picture ID and medical insurance card, I was handed a stack of papers to fill out. In fine print was a long list of medical ailments and conditions before which was a tiny box to check if my health had been impacted by said ailments and conditions. Do you have diabetes? Suffer from migraines? Have trouble sleeping? History of cancer? Heart disease? Allergic to any medicines? Suffer from asthma? High blood pressure? Mental Illness? Brain Trauma? Stroke? Arthritis? Kidney failure? Psoriasis? Eczema? Osteoporosis? Cataracts? History of Surgical Procedures? Ingrown toenail? You get the picture. It was a comprehensive list of maladies.
On Ash Wednesday, when we pray the Litany of Penitence together, that image of sitting in the doctor’s office, pen in hand, ticking off the the medical conditions that apply comes to my mind; only this time, I am revealing my spiritual ailments and conditions to God, and to my neighbor. This report uses a lot more ink. I confess that I can check every box. Not loved God with my whole heart, and mind, and strength? Check. Not loved my neighbor as myself? Check. Been deaf to God’s call to serve, as Christ served us? Check. Been unfaithful, prideful, and hypocritical? Check. Check. Check. Guilty of self-indulgent appetites and ways? Check. Exploited other people? Check. Envied those more fortunate than myself? Check. Made false judgments? Check. Had uncharitable thoughts toward my neighbors? Check. You get the picture. My list of sins is long. Yours may be too.
Lent invites us to an honest assessment of who we are, not for the purpose of beating ourselves up, but in order to repent and make a new beginning, a fresh start. The word Lent is derived from a shortened form of an old English word meaning Spring. May this season of Lent be a time of growth and renewal for you as you move forward with the assurance of God’s forgiveness and the trust that God embraces you with arms of love. To help you grow in grace this season, please join us for worship on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, and get involved in one, or all, of the Christian Formation series offered this Lent: Mondays (Reconciliation:White Fragility) Wednesdays (The Eucharist: From Many into One) and Sundays (Love is our moral compass). The links to these offerings can be found on our website.
Be kind to one another. Be patient. Keep the faith!