There is so much to update you all on! Please take some time to explore everything in this letter so we can move together as a community in this time.
First of all, the good news is that the official 7-Day Positivity Rate for Marion County dropped below 5% this week, which means that, barring unforeseen circumstances, we will be meeting in-person this Sunday!
If you plan to join us in-person this Sunday, please take some time to familiarize yourself with the protocols we are putting in place to keep everyone safe. There will continue to be a way to join us online, for those who cannot or choose not to attend in-person.
I’m also glad to say that we’ve made a good beginning to our Lenten focus on Racism & Repentance! From morning prayer on Wednesdays, to our (very cold!) outdoor Ash Wednesday service, our Saturday workshop on Reimagining Life Together Beyond Whiteness, the ongoing discussion groups on Sundays and Tuesdays, and the first sermon in the series this past Sunday, God has been at work among us to bring new awareness of how racism has embedded itself into our bodies and our body.
(If you are participating in one of the Racism & Repentance discussion groups, please take some time to read the assignment for the week.)
One last thing: I came across a quote this week that was encouraging for me that I wanted to share with you (note that the word ascesis refers to spiritual practices like fasting, solitude, and prayer).
The purpose of ascesis is thus to divest oneself of surplus weight, of spiritual fat. It is to dissolve in the waters of baptism, in the water of tears, all the hardness of heart, so that it may become an antenna of infinite sensitivity, infinitely vulnerable to the beauty of the world and to the sufferings of human beings, and to God who is Love, who has conquered by the wood of the Cross.Olivier Clément, The Roots of Mysticism, p. 131.
This Lent, may you find yourself empowered to persevere in your ascesis so your heart can become vulnerable to the beauty of the world, and to the suffering of human beings, and to God who is Love.