Dear OLPC Church Family,
As we enter the month of March, we commemorate the 40 days of Lent. Traditionally, this is a time of prayer, meditation and spiritual renewal. Lent also presents us as a people of faith with a challenge–one that directs our attentions toward God in spite of the everyday chaos in our lives and our world. In the Lenten Season, we are also called to a time of penitence, introspection, and realization of our humanity. This means we must confront guilt and failings in our lives, as well as work on mending our broken relationships with God and one another. The Lenten season should be one that assists us in recognizing the presence of God’s hope and love in the crevices and gaps of life.
Lent is a journey. Sometimes it’s one that we don’t want to take. Often, the sheer ritual of Lent makes us feel more obligated than committed. But I believe what theologian Renita Weems states in her book, Listening for God: A Minister’s Journey Through Silence and Doubt. Weems states: “Rituals are routines that force us to move faithfully even when we no longer feel like being faithful. Until our heart has the time to arouse itself and find its way back to those we love, rituals make us show up for duty.” It is a journey of renewal that beckons us away from our fast-paced lives, and prepares us to “slow down” and focus on God’s redemptive light in a seemingly chaotic world – – it shows us how important it is that in this chaotic world, we as God’s people are required to “show up for duty” and be ready to work when it comes to living out what God requires of us. Lent also gives us time to concentrate and be more receptive to the ways that God speaks to and through us. Despite the world’s horrors and shortcomings, Lent calls us to experience God’s new possibilities of redemption and spiritual growth so that we as disciples can face a hurting world with strength and powerful witness. As a family of believers here at OLPC, let us take this journey together knowing that God seeks to bring us to new vistas of faith.
March is also Women’s History Month, and it marks the celebration of biblical, historical and contemporary women who have responded to the call of peace, justice, equality, and humanity in the world. This month should also be a reminder that the celebration of the manifold gifts and contributions of women should not be limited to one month—or set time, but all the time. Women’s History Month is also a time of celebrating and acknowledging the ways that women both locally and globally, inspire, transform and enhance our lives.
Rev. Alonzo T. Johnson was Pastor of Oak Lane Presbyterian Church from 2003 to 2014.