We are entering the season of Lent, where the people of the church spend time in contemplation in preparation for the Easter Season. It is customary, during Lent, to give up something that is holding you down spiritually. As a child I gave up chocolate, because I was told to give up something I liked; now I work to add something into my life; prayer, forgiveness (including self-forgiveness), and reading.
During Lent, we act with INTENTION, and that matters. Allow me to offer an example: I am a pastor who sometimes uses her bowling words in the car (if I’m alone). My particular spot where I become most vocal is in Hartford where the HOV lane ends. Whatever engineer came up with that spot apparently never had to drive through the city during rush hour. A normally cautious driver, I reach that spot, look in my left side view mirror, and if I see someone barreling down that HOV lane in order to get a few car lengths ahead, I suddenly become less than polite. I will let one or two people in, but then I get stubborn and no one gets in front of me.
A few weeks ago I was almost to that spot when all of sudden I heard a loud crack. I looked up and the car in front of me backfired. I saw a spark in the tailpipe. Now, I don’t know much about cars, but I’m pretty sure sparks and gas are a bad combination; so, I looked in my side view mirror and saw about five cars rushing to the end of the lane: I let them ALL go. INTENTION MATTERS. I may have looked like a patient, thoughtful woman, but at that moment; I was not, I just wanted to get away from the potentially exploding car in front of me.
Lent invites us to look, not only at the things that weigh us down, but to seek with INTENTION, to behave with kinder hearts, live into relationships in our lives and community, and contemplate how to be more faithful. Church is a wonderful place to start. We, at West Suffield Congregational, will start by contemplating our physical impermanence on Ash Wednesday, February 22. We offered ashes and a personal blessing from 4–6 p.m. in our sanctuary. If someone wanted to receive ashes in their home, they could call the church, and arrangements were made. The focus of our journey through Lent will be how we can continue to be a blessing to the community we love, while exploring ways in which we can be challenged to grow and deepen our faith. We would love to see you during this time of exploration, please feel free to join us.
Blessings on your journey, Denise Peterson, Pastor.