Ash Wednesday 2021

Seeds of Faith

A note from your pastor...

In 2020, we hosted a simple, self-paced Ash Wednesday service of guided reflection that culminated in receiving the ashes. About a dozen people took part, and almost all of them said afterward that they found the experience to be richly rewarding. Of course, that was BC: Before Covid. 

For 2021, we are forced to reconsider how to "do" Ash Wednesday. We can hardly be accused of breaking tradition since last year was our first Ash Wednesday observance in recent memory, so I am taking this as an opportunity to stretch our collective spiritual legs a bit and go a step further into Lent as a season rather than just observing Ash Wednesday as a single day.

Let's be honest. Lent seems foreign to many Baptists. But it doesn't have to. In fact, many Baptists (especially the more liturgical and/or progressive ones!) have come to embrace the self-discipline reflective that is unique to this one season.

Lent is different from the other seasons of the worship year in that it is completely devoid of pageantry and celebration. Put another way, there are no distractions. Lent is the only time of year we get to practice the spiritual discipline of walking alongside Jesus as he prepared himself for the coming betrayal, suffering, and death of the Passion. No one wants to relive Christ's suffering, but putting ourselves in Jesus' shoes for even a few steps draws us into self-examination. 

Lent lends itself to solitude and reflection (which most of us are getting in spades this year), but our Lenten reflection should ideally catapult us into the same kind of radical service that led to Jesus' crucifixion. How on earth are we supposed to do that while remaining socially distant!?

Since Lent is unfamiliar to many of us, I encourage you to begin by reading an introductory article or two. A good place to start is "Lent: A Primer" by Sandra Glahn. If Lent rubs a bit too hard against your Baptist sensibilities, I also recommend "Why Baptists Should Celebrate Lent" by Kenny Lamm (which is really aimed at Baptist pastors, but worth reading anyway!).

If you are more of a video person, you might prefer this video introduction to Lent.

Next, I want to challenge you to plant some seeds of faith:

In these turbulent and acrimonious times, it can be hard to see how one small, solitary act can make a difference. But you’re not alone. There is goodness in the world, and you can be a part of it.

This Lent, we invite you to share the ways you’re growing goodness in the world.  Whatever you’re doing, you’re not alone. By sharing our stories, we want to show how goodness can multiply.

Here’s what we’re asking you to do: Commit to one act of kindness, generosity or justice each day, and then tell us about it.

...Your act of goodness may seem small. But when we put them all together, you’ll see that compassion is contagious. And together, we can change the world for good.

-The Most Rev. Michael Curry (Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church)

When you've completed an act of kindness, generosity, or justice, take a moment to add your act as a reply to my challenge on our Facebook page. As we approach Easter, we will reflect on our planted seeds in worship. 

Let me be clear that we aren't sharing our seed planting to brag about how pious we are. These are small seeds, to be sure! But bearing witness to your testimony can encourage others in our church and our community to do likewise. Together we can do mighty things!

-Pastor Lonnie