FRESH APPROACHES TO THE SEASON OF LENT
by Rev. Christina Greenawalt, Interim Pastor, Merritt Island Presbyterian
As we near a year since COVID-19 began to disrupt "Church," it should not be a surprise that the world and how we “do” Church continues to change, morph, move, look different. Ash Wednesday 2021, is not immune to the effect of Coronavirus. As we continue to wrestle with how to make Lent a meaningful season, it begins with Ash Wednesday. At Merritt Island Presbyterian, we continue to be closed to in-person gathering and focus on online worship. But the church calendar continues to move and we look for new and creative ways to incorporate people and new practices that, though they look different are meaningful in their own way. We have all lost a great deal in the past year, this year as a congregation we will move from giving up things for Lent and adding to the richness of being connected to God and each other.
One of the ways we are accomplishing this is by having a Drive-Thru event in which we collect donations for a nearby hunger relief agency and give our “Lent in a Bag.” This year our focus for Lent is “Without Love There Would Be No Lent.” While we look to love our community, we also look to grow in our relationships and love for God and one another, through worship, study, service and practice.
Our Lent in a bag includes the imposition of ashes on a heart shaped piece of seed paper that a member made. On the back during our Taizé Ash Wednesday service people will be encouraged to write any items they would like to give over to God on the back and to later plant the seed paper. This is a reminder out of death come life and out of despair and dissolution come hope and joy.
That is just the beginning of our Lenten Journey, in which we offer Family Devotions from Illustrated Ministry, Spiritual/Journals to practice our faith in new ways, the Outlook Lenten Devotion which offers journaling prompts, and other items for families and individuals have a richer more meaningful Lent. It is our hope that this quiet time of reflection will lead to growth and love in ways that will change our hearts and community, where we live out being the heart of Merritt Island.
For more ideas, click here for a resource list of additional creative ideas for Lent.