40 Days Is A Long Time: A lenten message during a health crisis

The COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted our globe, our country, our community and our lives. It is unprecedented in our modern society. So all our daily lives have been changed and impacted.

All this change and uncertainty, will test us.

Our Lenten journey this year started out a lot like most years. We ate pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. The liturgical colours changed to purple. We wore ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday. Some folks picked things to “give up” and others added something new, like a Lenten Study or a scripture reading routine.

Then the reality of a COVID-19 pandemic took the ordinary and turned it on its ear.

“Social Distancing” is one of our world’s best response (along with good hygiene) to slowing the spread and to help our Health Care system respond to the those who will need it most, until a treatment and preventative can be found and tested. We are not sure how long we will need to be apart physically. This will be very hard for all of us.

We are at the beginning of that difficult journey.

The 40 days of Lent, is symbolic of the 40 days and nights Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the 40 days and nights Noah spent on the ark, and the 40 years Moses and the God’s children spent wondering before they came to the promised land.

It is symbolic of a long and difficult journey; a trial, an ordeal, which at the end of it, something important has changed and something new begins.

We are at the beginning of that difficult journey.

Our faith and our scriptures tell us that God will see us through, as God has done countless times. We will find strength, courage, and comfort in God through Jesus Christ and by being “the church.”

Even if the needs of our world and our health means we can’t meet together in person with each other to encourage and support each other in person, or to worship or pray together physically, we are still together in being “the church.”

With God, we are never alone. God is always there and we can lift our thoughts, cares, concerns, worries, anxiety, fears, hopes, and joys to God.

act with the love. Jesus said this is how the whole world would know we are His.

As Christians, we are never alone, as we can always find ways to connect, support and care for each other, even if we can’t necessarily be close enough to touch.

As we move through Lent, and as we move through this difficult moment of our earthly journey, we will find ways, with God’s help, to act with the love. Jesus said this is how the whole world would know we are His.

On our contact us page there are some of the ways that you can stay connected to me and the church by email or phone. I am encouraging all parishioners to contact me to share information, ask questions, raise concerns, or find support through out this trying time.

Another of the ways that our parish community is connecting is through something I am calling “Called to Care.” With the help of Wendy Lovely, our pastoral visitors, and other volunteers, we are forming a communication tree to make sure everyone keeps connected. There are currently 44 people involved in this endeavour of care and support. If you would like to help, please reach out to Wendy or myself. Wendycan be contacted below.

It is a fact that all gatherings have been canceled until we are clear of this crisis. That includes all parish activities, groups, services, and even weddings and funerals. Yet despite this we still are together in Christ, each day and night, more than ever. For as long as we walk through this current wilderness.

I will be posting a video each week with prayers and a message each Sunday (here is last week’s). In my video I will be praying for those in our community who are in need of prayers, so if you have someone you would like me to include please email or call me with your prayer requests. I will only be praying for people by their first name in the video, but like a Sunday all are encouraged to pray along trusting in God to hear our prayers.

There are other online resources that you might consider to help you nurture and strengthen your faith during this time when we can’t gather together as would would normally. Our diocese has thoughtfully put this list of resources together, and you can, in fact, find other information and resources an our diocese’s COVID-19 Resource Hub.

This journey through the wilderness will not be easy or without pain and loss, but I pray that we will keep our faith and through our support of each other strengthen each other by being examples of Christ’s love to the best of our ability.

Be well and God bless you,

The Rev’d Canon Rob Park