I don’t know how it happened, but we’re almost through Lent! Odd as it may seem for a season of fasting, withdrawal, and introspection, I’ve been mightily encouraged by this season together. I have been overjoyed to hear reports from members of our NightLife groups who have found connections in their time together, both with one another and with God. Fasting can be like that. You imagine it will be nothing but discomfort and then you find that amidst the discomfort, there are other things too. Good things.
We have a few good things still coming this season. The Easter Cantata will be on Palm Sunday in worship and I look forward to that. After Palm Sunday, it’s Holy Week. On Monday through Wednesday, we are joining our sister churches in Oak Ridge to jointly worship and eat together at midday. At noon, we will visit a different church on each of these days and worship together as led by other churches. At 12:30pm, we will continue the fellowship by eating lunch together. You can check the schedule to see which church on which day. I have been a part of these in the past and it’s a fine way to celebrate Holy Week.
On the 14th, Good Friday, we will worship together at 7:30pm in the style of Tenebrae. Good Friday is tough. It’s the one night of the year that I think it’s inappropriate to end on a high note. That’s what Tenebrae is about; it’s intentionally darkening us before the dawn of Easter. It forces us to face the darkness of the world and of ourselves. If we do that, if we face down what is inside of us and get real about the darkness in the world around us, then the light of Easter can find every corner of our hearts and our world.
Lent can be difficult; that’s the idea anyway. It’s supposed to be hard. But as is so often the case, the hardest work makes for the sweetest rewards. I’m reminded of another Frederick Buechner quote: “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”