Keep Looking for Signs of New Life, New Growth

April 2020 · Ministry News

There is a meme circulating social media of late that I have really appreciated.  It simply says, “This is the Lentiest Lent I’ve ever Lented.”  It certainly holds true for me.  As a reminder, this season of Lent is the 40-day preparation period for Christians before the celebration of Easter.  It is a time that has long been characterized by increased prayer, acts of mercy, and by giving up or fasting from items that we enjoy or love.   

So yes, my prayer and prayer around the world has certainly increased as we have faced the spread of COVID19.  We are seeing daily the many acts of mercy done by all those working in health care, by grocery store employees, by people making masks at home, by work done on the frontlines in social services, and by so many others.  And we are all fasting from much more than we ever would have anticipated, including from the company of our friends and family.  Truly, it is the Lentiest Lent I’ve ever Lented.                                                   

But I also recall that our word for this season, “Lent”, comes from Old English and Germanic roots for the season of Spring.  Lent like Spring is to be a time of rebirth, fresh starts, and new beginnings.  I’ve been keenly aware of that this week as I’ve been spending some time working in my yard.  One evening I walked around just looking for the signs of new life popping up from what just a few weeks ago was the cold frozen ground and there were many – flowers blooming, plants sprouting, bees returning to their work.                                                                     

So, my question today is this – where in the midst of all that we are experiencing this Lent are those signs of new life, new growth, and resurrection?  I think that even in this winter of our fears, sorrows, and pain we have to keep looking for those signs of spring.  To just keep looking for them – to realize that they are there is in itself a tremendous act of hope.

As we approach Holy Week, we will once again walk with Jesus through his agony, his suffering, and his death, perhaps more intensely than ever.  Be assured that he walks with us through all that we are experiencing as well and that his promise to us remains the same.  “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25) 

Fr. Chas Marks is a Senior Advisor for Community & Church Relations with The Saint Francis Foundation. He is also the Rector (Pastor) of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Missouri.