“Make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
By Rev. Canon Val Kenyon
It seems to me that sometimes the season of Lent can be misunderstood.
Without question it is a penitential season, that is a season where we are encouraged to examine our lives, our choices, our actions and reactions, against what we see modelled for us in Scripture and in the life of Christ. As we do this, making space in our lives to do this examination, informed by the principles of God’s kingdom, when we find discrepancies, we look for grace to turn and move in another direction, God’s direction.
At its core, the real purpose of Lent is to serve as an annual invitation to draw closer to God. In anticipation, and perhaps even some trepidation, we venture out into the wilderness, that is, a place, or a way of being, that allows for fewer distractions. So much both around and within us can keep us from experiencing God’s presence. It is not really about criticizing ourselves more harshly during these 40 days, but rather about giving ourselves the moments needed to prayerfully examine those places in our lives that keep us from following more closely this God whose voice we have heard, and whom above all else we wish to serve.
Lent invites us to remember that great love with which we are loved, that love that gives us life, that love that will go to Golgotha, and most importantly, that love we will celebrate on Easter morning. Lent invites us in through the shadows, into the promise of light, into the ongoing and ever-evolving promise of life in Christ. Don’t be fooled. Lent, while many things, is also a season of great hope and expectation, and isn’t that exactly what we need right now?
We live in a time and a season following these two years of COVID restrictions and revelations, that, to say the least, have been challenging. This pandemic and all that has been birthed throughout it, has challenged us in ways we could never have imagined. It has exposed those parts of us and of our society that are difficult to see, and quite frankly difficult to deal with.
In light of all of this, I find myself keenly aware of my ongoing need for reminders and infusions of God’s light, God’s life, and God’s love. Obstacles abound and chaos seems a regular occurrence. Yet, this very chaos drives us to long for and seek out those islands of stability in Christ, where we remember we are known and loved by God, and in this remembering, strengthen for service as disciples of Jesus and ongoing exploration.
Throughout the course of Education for Ministry sessions, it is quite usual to find oneself in a time of venturing out into new environments and wildernesses as so much of the study, discussion and reflection is designed to offer a perpetual invitation to participants to explore the realities around them in light of this great love offered to us in Christ.
Should this be something that you would like to explore in more detail, in the Spring (Wednesday, May 25th and Tuesday, June 7th at 7pm) we will be holding several virtual Open Houses where you can learn more about Education for Ministry and what might await you there. If these dates, times, or format do not work for you, please reach out at any time to hear more about EfM within the Diocese of Huron. Either Libi Clifford, the Diocese of Huron EfM Coordinator or myself Val Kenyon, Huron’s EfM Animator at firstname.lastname@example.org would welcome a call or email.
Rev. Canon Dr. Val Kenyon is EFM Animator in Huron.
(Photo: Ben White/Unsplash)