It’s only 2 weeks until the beginning of Lent and I hope that you are already thinking about your theme, the books you will use and practices that will guide you. I had planned to leave my Lenten practices fairly open this year. I will be away in Australia for two of its five weeks, and expect that my focus will be more on family I have not seen for 4 years than on Lent. That does not sit comfortably with me, however. The recent killing of Tyre Nichols, another wave of mass shootings in the U.S., the devastation of atmospheric rivers events that have caused flooding in Auckland, New Zealand, the ongoing war in Ukraine and now the horrific earthquakes in Turkey and Syria made me change my mind. Justice for both the people of God’s world and God’s creation itself is what aches in my heart as I prepare for Lent. So I decided that my theme this year would be breaking down walls – walls of racial injustice, of climate change denial, of the violence from guns and war and of the growing gap between rich and poor.
The challenges faced by God’s good creation and by the people who inhabit our world are always on my mind and I want to make sure I do what I can to change my behaviour as well as that of others to be more in keeping with our God of love and compassion and justice. In yesterday’s Mediation Monday: Breaking Down Walls I shared some of the steps I will take to move my heart in the right direction. I encourage you to consider these as well. You might also like to download our free resource Hungering for Life that I produced together with Jean Andrianoff several years ago which also focuses on justice. In fact we have several Lenten resources, available through our store, some as free downloads, others for purchase, that you might like to consider using for the season.
We also have a number of resource lists for both Lent, Holy Week and Easter on the blog, that you might like to revisit as they have now been updated for 2023. There are lots of links to prayers, to posts and to activities. One of my favourites is Celebrating Lent with Kids. If there are other resources that you think should been on these lists please do not hesitate to send us your suggestions.
This last week was a very rich week of posts on Godspace. Lilly Lewin’s Birthday Examen is a must read from my perspective, as is the Opening the Doors to Spring – Worship for Candlemas with litanies and music compiled by Carol Dixon and Sheila Hamil. I also loved Karen Wilk’s reflections on her friend Karen Taming-Paton’s beautiful artwork. It is wonderful to see the ways that friends are collaborating to bring us such rich and varied posts for the Godspace blog.
One of the highlights of my week was the emergence of my beautiful dark red amaryllis. It was supposed to bloom at Christmas, but it really is far more spectacular now as it is one of the few flowers on my dining room table. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Let me close with a prayer for the people of Turkey and Syria:
Lord have mercy on the people of Turkey and Syria,
devastated by the horror of earthquakes.
We pray for those trapped, those waiting and those who have lost loved ones.
Let your love and your compassion surround them.
Grant them peace in the midst of their pain and fears.
Protect those that respond to the disaster.
Help them find survivors without putting their own lives at risk.
Keep them safe and give them wisdom as they dig in the rubble.
Be with leaders who make decisions
That could mean the difference between life and death.
May this catastrophe unite the people of the world
In kindness and compassion and generosity.
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.
May the peace of God be on us all this week.