The Grace of God in Lent

A Weekly Reflection, Sunday, February 11, 2018

By: Amelia McDaniel, Director of Children’s Ministries

Throughout my life I’ve seen Lent in many ways – a time of penitence and sacrifice through the lens of suffering, a time for renewal and growth, and a season of introspection and realignment.

Let’s face it, parenting is full of sacrifice, penitence, introspection, realignment, renewal, growth, and flat out suffering (and often all these are felt in the span of 10 minutes). And truthfully, some days even during the middle of summer feel rather Lenten with my children.

I’ve been at this parenting thing a while now. I’m sure most days I get 90% of it wrong. Yet at the end of almost every day, there are hugs and ”I love yous” and kisses before we crawl into our beds. For me at this stage of life, I find it hard to commit to extensive new routines or profound sacrificial practices. I barely manage to eke out what it is that I am supposed to do each day.  So for me this year, I am viewing Lent as less of a course correction or time to take one a profound new discipline. Instead I’m viewing it more as a winnowing time.

I want to strip back and lay down as much as I can so that I can stare directly at the essential truth – grace comes to me, not because I have earned it or deserve it, but because God’s love is far greater than I could ever ask or imagine. And I will remember this when I respond to my children and the world around me. With this truth at my core, I am more aware and present to the love of God all around me.

This Lent, we are offering a community journal project from the brothers at the Society of Saint John the Evangelist. There will be a journal for both adults and children. It is a simple, quiet way to try to connect each day throughout this season to God’s grace and love. In addition to the journal, there will be “car question” rings and take-home items to spark conversations at home. Not massive to-do items, just simple exercises to ground us in the season. There will be Sunday School, Adult Forums, and Wednesday night programming that will also feature elements from these journals. And we’ll conclude the season with Holy Week services – including an Easter Vigil – and our wonderful Stations of the Cross service presented by our children and youth.

My hope is that these materials and services will be a guide to your own winnowing down process. Come and participate in the many programs and worship offerings for you and your children to see the grace of God at work in our lives and the world.