Loss is indeed our gain

The pushing and shoving of the world is endless. 
We are pushed and shoved.
And we do our fair share of pushing and shoving 
in our great anxiety. 
And in the middle of that 
you have set down your beloved suffering son 
who was like a sheep led to slaughter 
who opened not his mouth. 
We seem not able, 
so we ask you to create the spaces in our life 
where we may ponder his suffering 
and your summons for us to suffer with him, 

suspecting that suffering is the only way to come to newness.
So we pray for your church in these Lenten days,
when we are driven to denial —
not to notice the suffering,
not to engage it,
not to acknowledge it.
So be that way of truth among us
that we should not deceive ourselves.
That we shall see that loss is indeed our gain.
We give you thanks for that mystery from which we live.
Amen

Walter Brueggemann

I write this month’s message immersed in the tension of the times. Outside, the sun shines with the intensity of a mid-Summer morning, yet the thermometer registers a mere 22º. Grass is emerge from the melting snowpack as I read warnings of a possible significant snowfall in the coming week. It feels as if Covid is waning in our city and country, yet more family and friends (myself included) have been diagnosed in this new year than at any time before. 

And we are poised to enter the season of Lent. 

In his poem Loss is Indeed Our Gain, Walter Brueggemann calls out the gain and loss of Lent and how we as a community experience it together. As we descend into the darkness of Christ’s passion story and the emptiness of the tomb, daylight lingers longer and longer with each passing day. As we enter the increased tempo of weekly worship —Wednesdays and Sundays and the Three Days of Holy Week — we also wish for everything to slow a bit so we can more readily experience the mystery of it all. 

As we step into Lent, let us notice the suffering among and around us; let us engage the brokenness that separates us from each other and God; let acknowledge the forces that push us to anxiety and embrace the path that Christ is leading us toward.

Pax,

Pastor Scott Simmons

Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: 
Prayers of Walter Brueggemann 
(Kindle Locations 861-864). Kindle Edition.