Kia Ora All Saints Whānau,
Lent in America always falls about 2/3 of the way through the school year. It hits at a time when generally the only other thing that’s going on is the anticipation of spring break for students. In NZ, however, it always rolls around right the beginning of the year when things seem to be ramping up. I’ve barely worked out which day I’m meant to be sending library books or togs to school for each child and then suddenly we are talking about who’s coming for pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Since we have lived here in NZ I usually don’t feel like I am able to really take a deep breath and journey through Lent with anything except for a busy and distracted mind.
This year, however, Lent has come in the middle of this Omicron wildness that we all find ourselves in. While our lives haven’t necessarily slowed down, my mind has. I am still focusing on when library books are meant to go back to school, but there’s also this odd stillness that I have been feeling over the past several weeks. It feels as if we are all kind of waiting. We are waiting for the day when one of our family members tests positive and we will be stuck at home for 7 days. We are waiting to see which one of our friends or colleagues we won’t get to see for a while. For some of us, we are waiting until the day that we can safely see people in person again. We are waiting for case numbers to start to drop. We are waiting for life to go back to normal.
In this waiting, I have found my mind in a stronger than usual space of looking beyond the micro, day-to-day stuff that is right in front of me, and asking God to show me the bigger picture. Maybe it’s the hyper vigilance that has been exercised in all of us since the beginning of this pandemic, but I have found it somehow easier to stop, look around me, and really see. There’s a lot I don’t like about this season, but that bit I am really thankful for. The world around us is in a unique position where people are looking at things as they never have before - trying to figure out their lives through a new lens - feeling a bit untethered. These are the spaces in which hearts are particularly open to God.
As we walk out the rest of our journey through Lent this year, let’s be brave and have those conversations with the people around us. Let’s sit boldly in the place of considering how desperate the world would be without Jesus and offer a relationship to the people in our lives who don’t yet know him.