Inside Out, our Lenten journey
I have always loved Lent. I remember the first Lent I observed as an adult. The practice I took on was a morning devotional (that I did mostly bleary eyed) at 5:30am every day. A pretty introductory attempt by anyone's standard (and, not being a morning person, one I did not repeat the next year). And even though I was barely conscious for a lot of it, it did change the way I saw the world--I felt more connected to God and to my life in the world. It encouraged me to greet each new season of Lent as a fresh opportunity to meet God and myself.
Lent is often a time of introspection. We look inside ourselves, consider ways of being that no longer serve us, and make efforts to try something else. Perhaps we want to give up annoying habits, though Lent isn't really about self-optimization. And sure, maybe we'd like to be the kind of person who wakes up ready to take on the day, though Lent isn't a productivity hack either. While these are good things to do for our own wellbeing, that's not why we do them. During Lent, we look inside so that we can come fully alive outside. We seek out our true selves, the self that hides deep inside us, so that we can flourish outside. We hope that our flourishing--our aliveness--will encourage others to seek their own aliveness, and that in our seeking we discover the ways we have been uniquely gifted to live sacramentally in the world.
For this reason, our 2023 Lenten theme is Inside Out. Each week we will consider the gospel stories anew, asking what they might help us discover inside that we can offer outside. To help provide a touchstone throughout the season, you will also be given a pebble, a little reminder to carry in your pocket or place on a nearby windowsill to remind you to notice what bubbles up for you. An invitation to consider your sacramental vocation. Finally, during Holy Week you will have the opportunity to respond to whatever holy nudges you might receive during this season. Details on our Holy Week schedule will be published soon, and will include a joint Good Friday service with First Congregational Church.
I look forward to hearing how these Lenten stories are interpreted by our talented homilists, and to hearing how the Spirit is speaking to you in this season.