I know, I know. I promised new posts for last week and didn’t deliver. Getting back into the swing of things after being in Arizona for two weeks proved more time-intensive than I expected. But now I’m back and ready to write!
If you’re wondering about my experience in Arizona, you can read my daily reflections over at my old spirituality blog: Of the Garden Variety.
This week I have a few disconnected thoughts to share with you lovely readers. Let’s dig into it.
For me, I’ve been so preoccupied with preparing for Arizona, being in Arizona, recovering from Arizona, and looking ahead to my next trip, that I’ve pretty much lost sight of Lent this year. Rather than a season of reflection, contemplation, and experiencing the disconsolation of being without, I’ve been rushing, working, and experiencing sensory and information overload.
So what do we do when our season of life does not match up with the church calendar? What do we do when the sermons and sharing of our community of God don’t resonate with our current experience?
I think we run into this dilemma more often than we like to admit. We experience loss, but our community is full of celebration. We experience rest, but our community expects more participation. We experience peace, but our community is full of unrest. We experience doubt and distance with God, but our community seems threatened by our questions.
Sometimes it’s so much easier to walk alone.
But community is central to our Christian faith for a reason. Yes, we need the freedom to be who we are and where we are on our spiritual journeys, but we also need the experience of community to help us grow and change. Community can be challenging, but it can also be revealing and healing.
When I think about participation in the community of God, I always return to Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
We can never achieve this “wholeness” simply by ourselves, but only together with others. – Letters and Papers from Prison
(If you missed it, you can find our 4-part series on community in Bonhoeffer’s writings here.)
We need each other not only to fully experience God but also to become fully whole in ourselves. I may not be in a season of life or a frame of mind to really engage in Lent this year, but being surrounded by a community of God that is engaged in Lent helps keep me linked to the seasons of the church year and reminds me that there is more to life than my momentary experience.
And who knows? Maybe next year I will be the one reminding my community just what the season of Lent brings to our experience of God.
That’s what community is all about.