The Journey of Lent: The Beginning of Hope
Lent at Saint Michael has been a filling journey for me. We have been refilled in body, mind, and spirit this season, in so many ways. We have been examining the different ways we search for and are found by God when we open ourselves up to the Spirit. Lent is one of those times that has been traditionally understood as dark and penitent, but could be understood as an opportunity to sit in God’s lap. If we pause from the business of life, try to put down everything that weighs on us, we have the chance to hear God’s “still small voice” speak to us in new ways. It is my deep hope that you are taking advantage of this season to clarify and renew your relationship with God and the ways in which you can respond to God’s unique call on your life.
As we continue to move through this sacred season of Lent, we are now only a few days away from the most profound Christian experience of year: Holy Week and Easter. Holy Week has always meant a lot to me personally, but the depth and beauty of Holy Week at Saint Michael is unmatched. We begin the journey this year with a dynamic Palm Sunday service, and this year, our main services will be accompanied by festive bagpipes, drums, and fifes (not to be missed!). Palm Sunday is guaranteed to be uplifting.
The services that follow Palm Sunday walk us through the greatest story ever told in stunning, experiential beauty. The Paschal Triduum is the period of three days that begins with Maundy Thursday, continues through Good Friday, and culminates with the Great Vigil of Easter. The arc of the story is brought to life with amazing passion during those three services.
This year, I invite you to intentionally walk through this passionate week by attending all three services. Jesus’ passion can seem very distant to many of us. His death and resurrection can seem so different than our life experience that if we aren’t careful, we can just go through the motions of the moment. If we aren’t, the greatest story ever told will remain just a story. But if we look a little deeper, if we garner a bit more courage, this story can change our lives. By committing the time to journey through Holy Week, you will experience the story of our faith in a deeply inspirational way.
The services are designed to truly prepare our hearts and minds for the profound reality of the resurrection. The story of Jesus’ final days, the story of his death and resurrection, are not the end. This story of Jesus is just the beginning! The story of Jesus is the story of God’s greatest gift to each one of us, to the people He loves so deeply — hope. Hope is the core, the center of true goodness. Hope is the goodness that God planted deep down inside each one of us, but it often takes an extraordinary experience to help us see that we have that most beautiful hope at our deepest center. Easter Sunday, the celebration of hope’s triumph, is so much more significant when we have walked the passion of Christ in the Paschal Triduum.
As we move through this holy season of Lent and into the promise of new life at Easter, we will continue to push on the deep spiritual experiences we share on Sundays. Each Sunday of the Easter season, your clergy will explore one of the many facets of hopefulness that Christ inspires in us all, including courage, grace, joy, freedom, and faith.
This year has gotten off to a wonderful start. As we enter a new Easter season, the action that we take to spread God’s love in Dallas and beyond will continue to tell the story of Christ to a world that needs to hear the Good News. May God continue to bless our hearts and minds, that we may be a blessing to those we meet along the way.
The Reverend Chris Girata, Rector