As I have mentioned in church a few times, prayer is one of the most common things people ask to learn more about in the Christian life. And so, over the course of the upcoming season of Lent, our formation programs on Wednesdays and Sundays will be focused on prayer. In particular, I would like to invite you, the people of Trinity Parish, to delve deeply into the riches of the Book of Common Prayer as a system for discipleship and spiritual growth. As I work with Princeton Seminary students who are new to the Episcopal Church, and who have come into our church because of its liturgical tradition, I realize how often we can take for granted how special our Prayer Book truly is. I will have more details in next week’s ePISTLE, as I introduce the devotional resources that Adam and I have put together for the season.
In the meantime, as the Prayer Book says, “I invite each of you, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (BCP p. 265). And yet, Lent isn’t a time to be falsely morose, to beat ourselves up in a show of false piety, or to be gloomy for the sake of it. It is a time to enter in the desert, because in the desert we can hear the voice of God, who in the person of Jesus Christ names each of us as also beloved, and who calls us to be his friends. This voice, in its perfect love, calls us to put aside fear, and to wrestle earnestly with the ways we may not act like who we truly are: God’s beloved ones and friends. Every last one of us falls short of who we were intended to be, and every last one of us is called to return to the God who loves us so fiercely and so completely.
Yours faithfully in Christ,
The Rev. Dr. Kara N. Slade
P.S., For people who struggle with grief, depression, serious illness, or many of life’s other challenges, Lent can be a particularly difficult time. If that applies to you, I especially commend this short piece by my dear friend, Canon Rhonda Lee of North Carolina.