The season of Lent is a spiritual journey that begins on Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. It is known as a season for reflection and repentance, a season where we are to orient ourselves back towards Jerusalem. This season began to be celebrated within the early church and was in preparation for Easter. Those within and outside of the church used this time for penitence and reorientation of their hearts. During these 40 days we are called to withdraw with Jesus “into the wilderness” for 40 days. This Lenten season, it is different though. Yes, we are in the wilderness it seems, but not by choice.
Before I knew that this Lenten season would look as it does, I decided to give up being busy. So, when I found out that my classes would be moving to an online format, I didn’t have my campus job anymore, and that all of the organizations I was a part of would either be ceasing to meet or have infrequent Zoom meetings, I realized that I was about to have a lot more time on my hands. Although it was disappointing for my senior year to be cut shorter than expected and I won’t be able to say some of the goodbyes that I would have liked to, I am thankful for the Lenten season of giving up being busy.
This season has been one of tremendous growth for myself as I relearn what I value in life. It has helped me to be more intentional with my friendships that I had put on the backburner for my classes. In this time of uncertainty and upon reflection, I am reminded of what our call as Christians is. It is one of embodiment, but what does that mean for us in a time of social distancing and quarantine from others? How are we to live out the embodied love? I am sure none of us expected our Lenten season to look as it does now, but I don’t think that this new normal has to negatively affect the way in which we are able to embody the love of Jesus.
We are finding new ways to love those around us. We are having time to reconnect with our families as we live within close proximity to some that we may not have had at home for years. We are given time, we are given an opportunity that we otherwise would not have had. We must take seriously this task of embodied love to those who are closest to us. I am thankful for my own time of solitude during which I have been attempting to use this time to become intentional with those around me and those which I have not seen in a long time. For Lent, I had given up being busy, so I have been using this time to restructure what I am prioritizing, with love being at the top of my list.
We need to be aware of the narrative in which we are telling ourselves about this time. We can easily rack up a list of all that we are missing out on currently, but what if instead we embraced all that this time is giving us? No, we will not be physically with our congregations this Easter Sunday, but that will not stop us from choosing to love the people that surround us. The joy of Jesus’ eternal resurrection will not be trampled by temporary trials. Instead, may this be a time of growth. May this be a time of intentionality. May this be a time of love.