Without a doubt, the circumstances of a global pandemic have conspired to make this Lenten season one to remember. Updates are issued almost by the hour and it’s hard not to feel oppressed by the weight and uncertainty of it all. With all this chaos swirling about, I suspect I’m not alone in feeling cut loose from a secure mooring.
In this country, serving your neighbor, whether they are next door or on the other side of world, means serving the state. We are a nation of neighbors. Our neighbors lead us, our neighbors protect us, our neighbors watch out for us, our neighbors provide for us when we are in need. As children of God, we live on both side of this neighborhood street. We each need and we each provide. We each want and we each give. We each are loved and we each love.
Our son Bjorn just graduated from high school and our daughter Della did the same two years ago. This is a moment my wife Anne and I have been thinking about for some time now. It’s called the “empty nest” and it’s a moment all together joyful and terrifying. We’re so proud of the smart, funny, capable and kind young adults our children have become but we’re also more than a little nervous that we haven’t taught them everything they need to know to navigate the world on their own.
It feels really good to be one the other side of Holy Week. Not only is the tomb discovered empty and a risen Jesus greets us, new life seems to be returning all around us in the greening grass, the blooming flowers, and leaves bursting forth from the branches.
As the longer season and explorations of this Epiphany has given way to the 40-day journey of Lent, I find myself drawn to some new disciplines that are re-framing my pastoral work.
When I take a moment to step back and reflect, it’s clear we have made remarkable progress. Though, to paraphrase leadership guru Jim Collins, “getting the right people in the right seats on this bus” continues to be the primary challenge for me as your lead pastor.