The Season of Lent has typically been a busy one for me since my ordination to the diaconate over 23 years ago. However, the shutdown of society changed all of that back in 2020 in the blink of an eye. All of my speaking engagements on the calendar were wiped off with one swoop of the eraser. Sadly, none of them returned even after all of this time.
Lent is a time in which we focus on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. It is a time for increased awareness, self-discipline, reflection, and growth in holiness. It is also a time for us to be refreshed, replenished, and renewed.
What do I miss most about not having my calendar filled with speaking engagements? I miss having the opportunity to share God's love with people who are searching, struggling, or simply seeking a deeper relationship with the Lord. In a season where I would typically preach several parish missions, lead a few days of recollection or retreats, I now find myself with only three speaking engagements for the whole season of Lent. I mentioned this to someone recently, and the reply came back, "Enjoy the time for your own refreshment and replenishment." That sounds good in theory, but I find my refreshment and replenishment in bringing God's Word to others. Sharing in the preaching, teaching, and healing ministry of Christ is where I find my joy.
For now, I wait in joyful hope.
"Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord!"
"For I will refresh the weary soul; every soul that languishes I will replenish."