The First Week of Lent – Letting Go of Separation and Holding onto Relationship
March 1, 2020
by Jill Duffield, Presbyterian Outlook editor
We live in a time of increasing isolation and loneliness. People move frequently, work remotely and have shorter tenures at their jobs. Yet, the need for connection and community is universal. Everyone needs a place where they are welcomed and valued, a space where they can both contribute and be cared for when they are at their worst. Jesus assures his followers that despite the physical separation that is to come, he does not and will not abandon them.
Yet, troubled hearts beat within and all around us. Anxiety pervades our pews and our culture. People feel weighed down and burdened. Isolation and loneliness silently creep into our lives. We hesitate to speak of our pain lest we appear ungrateful or incapable. Jesus knows our grief and our questions, our longings and our losses.
Lent offers us a season of repentance, but also a time to reconnect with the God who
loves us with abandon. Lent calls us to confession, but also to community. As you take stock of your life – your hopes and disappointments, your worries and the wonder – remember that you are not alone. Jesus not only prepares a place for us, he gifts us with others to pray for and with us, to walk with us on this journey. As you enter time of intentional prayer and practice this Lent, know you do not do so in isolation. The entire Body of Christ goes together to the cross. Notice who is lagging behind, lighten the load of those carrying heavy burdens, rest when necessary, prepare a place for others to find solace and cling to the promise that Jesus will not abandon us.
Lord, you promise to make a place ready just for us. When our hearts are troubled and
we feel alone, surround us with others who journey with us, no matter where we go or what we face. Send your Spirit to remind us that your burden is light, you grant rest, you give us the gift of community and connection and call us to seek out those still far off and afraid. Amen.