Dear Parish Family
What not to give up for Lent: HOPE
What to take on during Lent: PRAYER
It is well known that we are, by nature, drawn to watch a train wreck. We know we should look away, it is going to be horrible, nevertheless we watch it happen. Like deer in the headlights. Sadly, most of the news today is about the “train wreck” in the United States. Chaos and division everywhere. Truth vs. “alternative” truth with conspiracies seen on both sides. What will the future bring for the people of the US and, by extension, the rest of the world? The façade has been torn down and we now see what was suspected for a long time.
Before you throw up your hands in despair, take a look at Church history. The times the Church has course corrected and grown has been in times of crisis. St. Paul called the Church in Corinth on its division (I Cor. 1:10-13) and exhorted the Church in Ephesus to enhance every individual’s gifts to build up the Body of Christ in unity of Spirit and purpose (Eph. 4). Time and again the Church’s failure to live up to its high calling has been brought into the light. Corruption, ignorance, falsehoods, power struggles, abuse, etc. has continually raised its ugly head in a community which is to love its neighbour, defend the widow and orphan and seek dignity and justice for all. My point is, what we are seeing today, not just to the south of us but around the world, is what a world looks like without God’s compassion, grace, forgiveness and mercy – God’s love lived fully as shown in Jesus Christ. Mankind is drawn to selfishness and greed no matter what social institution we look at or belong to. Recognizing it and dealing with it in a healthy, Divine manner will never be easy but it is the way of God. Pray!
There is hope. We have seen it. We seen peace and reconciliation in South Africa. We have seen Truth and Reconciliation bring healing to Canada and the Church. There is no hiding the deep divisions and disparities within our societies. Now the question is how are we going to deal with it? Will we face these issues in way which reflects the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our Baptismal Covenant or in a way which is selfish and destructive? Welcome to Lent on a global level!
So what do you take on for Lent? – Prayer. Pray for the US and the nations of the world. Pray that your life is not adding to the destructive social tendencies within our families and community. Pray for the Church that it may be an agent of peace and reconciliation. Pray for the peace of Christ to rule in your heart richly (Col. 3:12-17) that you may fulfill your calling in Jesus Christ.
May the love of Christ and the joy and peace of believing dwell in you now and always.
Fr. David Warren