Welcome to February!  

February always felt like a really weird month when I was a kid.  It seemed almost like an afterthought.  I can imagine when Julius Caesar’s astronomers proposed the 12 months, they argued what to do with this extra day/leap year thing… someone said, “eh, just toss it in with February.” 

For obvious reasons, February seems like a really weird month.  But perhaps it can be more than just an afterthought.  Our Lenten journey begins this month, and I suggest we lean into this Lenten season.  “Oh Pastor, we’ve done enough of that sitting with our ‘stuff’ let’s just get to Easter.”  I get that, the last thing we want to do is be reminded that we are dust, that we are sinful, that we have to go through some hard places before we get to the goodness and celebration of Easter.  The pandemic sucks, and this isolation can make it feel like we are in a yearlong Lenten journey.  So Ash Wednesday (February 17) will kick off our forty days of Lent and with it a new opportunity to embody this discipline of self-examination and acts of love. 

Have you, in past years, given something up for Lent?  Taken something on? How does this year feel?  Maybe you know how you want your Lenten journey to go, and if so I tip my hat to you.  Maybe you are just tired, worn out from all the “giving stuff up” you have to do to keep yourself/family/friends safe, and adding a Lenten practice doesn’t land high on the list.  I understand that.  

Wherever you find yourself this February, in whatever kind of condition you are in, God will meet you there.  THAT is what we lean into this Lenten season.  Our sure foundation isn’t whether or not we refrain from chocolate for forty days… it’s finding solace in the unshakable arms of God.  

This Lenten season I am going to be writing Uncommon Blessings for the Common: Naming the Sacred in the Ordinary.  In case you are feeling the weight of everything going on in life, and this February and Lent feels like just one more thing to add to a growing list, then let me say it’s ok to go through the motions.  Here is a blessing I wrote for going through the motions.  

A blessing for going through the motions

God, I don’t feel like showing up in any real way today.  My spirit is weak, I’m kind of worn out with all the churchy/adulting/kiddo and teen stuff, and I’d love it if you could just take over for a bit.  So, here’s the deal.  I’m going to fake it till I make it.  I am going to show up, with all the stuff I have inside me… all the stuff you already know. I will go through the motions because that’s what I can do right now. Thanks for recognizing that even when I am weak, you are still God, and we are still good.  AMEN

God’s peace, love, and warmth be with you as we enter into this new month. 

Pastor Justin

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