My Dear Friends,

It is an interesting happenstance that the feast of St. Valentine falls on Ash Wednesday this year. What a wonderful way to start Lent, with thoughts of love!

Often, we think of Lent as a time of personal sacrifice and penance. We are conscious of the need to reform our lives in anticipation of Christ’s redemption. Prayer and almsgiving are traditional practices. However, perhaps we can also infuse into the season our special care for people who touch our daily lives?

This Lent can be a time of spreading love to the world – or at least to our little corner of the world. Rather than being inwardly focused, we can become more aware of the needs of others. And, then we can act. Our time and talent and money are a God-given resource that can accomplish so much in the lives of our neighbors. That sharing will not diminish us. Our love will rebound ten-fold.

How to begin? A smile, a brief greeting, a conversation, an invitation, genuine concern. It can be as simple as being available and open to the possibilities.

Of course, we as church can also continue our traditional spiritual activities. We should renew our resolve to participate in Mass every Sunday, joining together in a communion of saints and striving to enhance Christ’s kingdom. We can also share time on Tuesday evenings for soup, scripture, faith discussion and Eucharist, intimate gatherings of disciples studying our faith. Each Lent we have also contributed to the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund, providing animals to support families in less developed areas of the world.

God sent us His only Son out of His great love for us. St. Michael can embrace that spirit through love and action on behalf of others. By reaching out in loving acts, we as a community can spread the good news to those who feel lonely, desperate or abandoned. Together with them, we can become the Beloved Community to which Jesus calls us. And, this will transform Lent into a season of love!

Your priest,

Paula+