by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. Joel 2:13
How’s your Lent going?
I know it’s only the first week and we’re just getting started. But there’s been much to take in so far. If you attend a church that follows the lectionary you’ve already heard some heavy texts. Through our readings we’ve been reminded that we are dust and to dust we shall return. We’ve been tempted with Jesus in the wilderness. It’s just been a week but it can seem as if the weight of this calling and this Gospel is too heavy to bear.
So how is your Lent going?
If you decided to give up something, has it been easy or hard?
If you have added a spiritual discipline have you been able to faithfully take part each day?
Are you feeling the heaviness of the season?
Or does it feel like any other day of the year?
Bedtime is one of my favorite parts of the day with my daughter. Once we’ve settled down from the day and cleaned up, it’s time for stories, prayers, songs, and cuddles. My daughter’s new favorite book and song is “What a Wonderful World.” We have a beautiful book with the lyrics to delightful illustrations. My daughter grabs it every chance she gets. So over and over again we sing to her, “What a Wonderful World.” Along with a host of other children’s songs. But it’s “What a Wonderful World” that really gets to me.
Not just this Lenten season but the last year have been heavy for me. I’ve written about my fears and anxiety before, but it bears repeating that my heart is heavy – for our country, for our world, for this earth, and for the future that my daughter will inherit. But personally my life is going well. My husband and I love our home, our work, our family. And so I live in this tension daily about the reality of pain and brokenness in this world against my own sense of security. And the call that I should be doing more to bring about peace in this world.
That’s why I need Lent this year. I need to be reminded over and over again that this is indeed a wonderful world. That in the midst of challenges and what I fear to be threats to our world and earth, that we do indeed live in a wonderful world. That we have a God who comes to us in the pain and brokenness. That we have a God who is with us in hard places so that we can grow. That we have a God who reminds us that we are dust and that we are indeed not God.
I need Lent this year so I can be awakened from complacency to action. To service. To welcome. To justice. I need this Lent to force me once again to turn towards my neighbors and to learn from them.
Lent can be a hard season. But so is following the Gospel. But we don’t go through it alone. We have community. We have a God who is steadfast. We have a God who became human for us. We have a God who transforms death into life over and over again. We have a God whose song is always one of hope.
So how is your Lent going?
I’m walking this journey with you. In prayer and in community. It’s my prayer that throughout Lent and in the coming months we can acknowledge the challenges and the callings of following Jesus. That we can see the brokenness in our world and respond. That we can rejoice together in our joys. That we can together sing that it is indeed a wonderful world.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of a toddler, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. Her website is http://www.kimberlyknowlezeller.com
Image: pages from the book What A Wonderful World