Lent Came Early

On a bitterly cold Sunday in January, 2020, Lent arrived.

Our sacred symbols were carried off the altar during our last worship service before the remodel.

 

 One by one, the symbols left—first the baptismal font, then two large candles. After the scripture was read, the Bible on the communion table was gently walked down the aisle, along with the tablecloths, prayer journal, and flowers. But when I lifted the Christ candle and cradled it in my hand, my heart began to pound. I slowly moved the light of Christ down the aisle as we sang the hymn It Is Well with My Soul. 

 

It was bittersweet, watching the symbols being removed from the space, but waiting for the day of resurrection and their return. It felt as if we were beginning Lent before Lent itself was scheduled to begin.              

I sat in the bare sanctuary, unclothed for the first time since its creation. No more adornments, musical instruments, or even choir chairs. 
 

Yet, I was curiously moved by what happened next.  My eyes saw only two things—the communion table and the cross behind it–the message of the Gospel in its purest form.

 

As I sat there, I gasped.  This was the soul of the church, simple but beautifully real. The cross towered over the Table of Christ powered by a resurrection.

 

It was beautifully simple and refreshingly honest. 

I felt closer to Christ in this moment than at any time before.  In its emptiness, the fullness of Christ was unyielding.

And it was peaceful. Blessedly peaceful. The simplicity of the Good

News met me in this pared down space.

Before the symbols, there was only the table of Christ and the story of resurrection. This was the message that welcomed the empty and filled their soul.

 

Lent came early this year, and it was well with my soul. 

Friends, we are in a season of preparation that leads through a crucifixion and ends with a resurrection. We will return the symbols as they left, one by one, to bear witness to this resurrected space. On that day, you and I will celebrate a new creation, within our hearts as well as this space.

Lent came early this year. Praise God. A resurrection is ahead.

 

Pastor Terri

 

 

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