Lent & returning to love

by susan on February 9, 2018

Another Lent is upon us & for some, this season can feel a lot like going through the motions. If we allow it, instead of a season of reflection, Lent can be another in a long line of religious rituals that leaves us less transformed & more weighed down in “shoulds” & shame. So, every now & then, it seems like a good idea to shake things up a bit & to be reminded of what is at the heart of practicing intentional seasons like these. With Ash Wednesday being on Valentine’s Day this year (& Easter being April Fool’s Day…) & with all that’s happening in our world & in our lives, this seemed like a good year to reimagine Lent & to return to the way of Love.

According to the prophet Joel, there is a particular kind of return that God desires…

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me
with all your hearts,
with fasting, with weeping, and with sorrow;
tear your hearts and not your clothing.

Return to the Lord your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
very patient, full of faithful love,
and ready to forgive.

– Joel 2:12-13

According to the prophet, returning does not look like converting everyone to our way of seeing or making our way of seeing the law of the land; it looks like returning to God’s way of mercy, of compassion, of forgiveness. It looks a return that is less about force & more about love.

It’s not difficult to see that we are in desperate need of a return to love. Greed, division, violence, out-of-control-power & a ton of other toxic patterns are tearing us apart. Only love will heal us – and not just any love – the kind of love we see & experience through Jesus – a love that transforms, heals, confronts & includes.

This Lent, we are invited to return to that kind of love in several ways as we journey through this season:

Instead of starting with an Ash Wednesday service, we are starting with a love-themed community dinner on February 14th at 6 p.m. at Kevin & Susan’s home. It’s family-friendly & open to everyone. We will feast on good food & begin our Lenten journey with a meal reminding us that we are loved by God & one another.

The next week, we begin our Sacred [Love] Stories Group. This group will meet on 6 consecutive Wednesday nights beginning February 21st. Each night will begin with a shared/potluck meal at 6 p.m. in a participant’s home & conclude with a meditation on love & listening to one of our participants share their story. This is our third Lent of story sharing & this has become one of the most sacred & meaningful experiences of our community’s life together. Everyone is welcome to be a part – we only ask that out of respect for our storytellers, you make showing up a priority. You must sign up in advance by emailing susan@thewellatspringfield.org.

Sunday Gatherings: As we continue moving through the gospel of John, we’ll look deeply at Jesus’ way of love in the face of conflict, suffering & death. We’ll take on weekly practices that help us feast on that love.  We gather Sundays at 10:30 a.m. at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum. You can subscribe to our weekly update for weekly scriptures & any other details about these gatherings.

However & whenever you plan to move through Lent, resist going through the motions. Instead, consider how God is calling all of us to return to God’s revolutionary way of love.

Peace & love,




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