I am praying that this letter finds you warm and safe. By the time you read this letter tomorrow, may the ice begin to thaw, may your home be filled with warmth, may the streets again be safe for you to go out to get food, and may this deadly week loosen its icy grip on us.
Friends, know that I am praying for you all the time. I wake in the middle of the night, and I pray for you. I pray for you as I buzz about the house -- I just can’t sit still. I pray as I boil water, I pray as I poke the fire, I pray as I blow dry the faucets… as I check my phone... as I read the news - I pray, pray, pray. I pray until I wonder if there really is a difference between worrying and praying, and then I think perhaps sometimes praying is just worrying before a divine audience? I don’t know. I should be able to relax knowing that my family is safe and warm, but I cannot. I cannot because you, my church family, are not all safe and warm.
So I repeat to myself the famous words of Julian of Norwich:
All shall be well,
All shall be well,
And all manner of thing shall be well.
Part of me thinks her words sound naive, but then I remember she lived through the plague, a peasant revolt, and troubles our modern minds can only imagine. So I ask myself, can I trust God, like Julian did -- that God will ultimately make all things well? Can I believe that God loves us so much, even more than the sparrow, and so will take care of her children?
In this season of Lent, I want you to bring all your worries, all your sorrows, and all that weighs upon your heart to worship. Forget self-discipline, self-flagellation, and self-denial this Lent. You won’t be giving up sugar or carbs this year. We’ve given up too much that brings us joy and comfort already. This Lent, we are letting go of our sorrows, our worries, our regrets, and our grief.
Stay safe and stay warm.