Wednesdays., February 27th – March 13th
7:00 – 8:30 pm; Michaux House 304
Led by Rev. Caroline Parkinson
The early Christians saw Lent as a time “when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful, were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and were restored to the fellowship of the Church.” Our Lenten focus is on forgiveness, and how we go about doing the work of reconciliation. During the season of Lent and Holy Week, we call to mind the things we do to grieve the heart of God. The truth is that we continue to fail in the high calling of our creation, bringing pain to ourselves and to others. The readings for the season call attention to humanity’s ease at self -centeredness and our unwillingness to forgive as we have been forgiven. We have grieved the heart of God by our rejection of Jesus’ commandment to love God and one another.
What is forgiveness? What does it require of me? How do I do it? And what difference does it make? Our Lenten focus is on forgiveness, without which we cannot be whole. On Wednesday evenings during Lent, we will take the time to reflect on forgiveness as a means of preparing for Holy Week and Easter using the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Rite of Reconciliation of a Penitent, music of the season, the Lord’s Prayer and the Baptismal Covenant.
The events of Holy Week and Easter point to the incredible grief and sorrow God feels at the sin of humankind. It is like the hurt parents feel when children fail and suffer the consequences. God’s grief must be like the grief of the parent in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal. Place yourself in the heart of that parent. Watch him walk away from you, from the family, and into a living hell, knowing you can do nothing to change his heart. You can feel the heartbreak, the sorrow, the despair and the desire to take on the pain for your beloved child. As we feel that sorrow, we get a glimpse of God’s suffering.
As believers have done across the world and down through nearly 2000 years, we will mark the days of Holy Week and the great three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter, culminating as we gather to retell the story of God who suffers on our behalf and finally to proclaim the joy of Christ’s Resurrection. The season of Lent, Holy Week and Easter help us recall the wonder of God’s extravagant love for us.