Written by Rev. Sarah Are
I like to imagine that each year,
God invites me to a party.
God drops me a note that says, “No gifts, casual dress. Come just as you are.”
I like to imagine that I am brave enough to go.
I like to imagine that I decide that I am worth it.
This was no pity invite,
There is no obligatory postage.
God wants me there.
So I get myself together,
Smudged glasses, sensitive ego, wrinkled shirt,
I ring the doorbell a few minutes late on
account of the fact that
I lost my keys twice trying to get out the door,
And I almost turn back to hide in my car,
Afraid that I might embarrass myself over
appetizers or small talk.
But then God answers the door,
And God says, “You’re here!”
And I smile, because I am.
And with every step past that threshold,
I know that God is cheering me on.
It’s the pride of a parent watching their child
take their first step.
If I freeze, God is not disappointed.
If I fall, God is not mad.
But if I trust the invitation,
If I move closer,
I know, God celebrates.
Friends, you’ve got mail.
It’s an invitation to dust off your shoes,
To go deeper,
To trust that you’re worth it,
To lose your keys and your faith,
And then to find them both, along with your worth.
You are invited.
We are invited.
Again and again and again.
This invitation is for you.
First Church Family,
“In Lent, we’re reminded that, again and again, suffering and brokenness find us. We doubt again, we lament again, we mess up again. Again and again, the story of Jesus on the cross repeats—every time lives are taken unjustly, every time the powerful choose corruption and violence, every time individuals forget how to love.
With exasperation we exclaim, ‘Again?! How long, O God?’
And yet, in the midst of the motion blur chaos of our lives, God offers a sacred refrain: ‘I choose you, I love you, I will lead you to repair.’
Again and again, God breaks the cycle and offers us a new way forward.”
Our congregational theme for Lent this year was created by a group called Sanctified Art.
“This theme provides a clear invitation in a time when much is unclear. Even if worshiping apart, we come to God again and again with our prayers, our dreams, our hopes, and our doubts. Even if from a distance, we will continue to be community to one another—especially when it’s hard—by choosing each other over and over again. We will continue to love God with the same persistence God chooses and claims us. Our sub-title, A Lenten Refrain, speaks to the ways God can make music of our lives. “Refrain” also reminds us that Lent is a season of abstaining from certain practices in order to take on new rhythms and habits.”
Join us as we find ways to bring meaning to our Lenten journey through study, live-streamed worship, special drive-through worship experiences on Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday, and outdoor worship on Palm Sunday and Easter. Again & again!