Wednesday, March 1 was Ash Wednesday - marking the beginning of the Church Season of Lent. The Lenten Season is a wonderful time to be reborn and renewed in preparation for the Celebration of Easter! Our Lenten Journey will lead us to Palm Sunday - the beginning of Holy Week. On Thursday during Holy Week, we will experience Maundy Thursday, and also celebrate the First Communion of a group of people of our Messiah Community. We will also journey through Good Friday as we consider the pain and suffering of our Lord Jesus as He was crucified for our sins. We then will declare "He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!" as we celebrate Jesus' Resurrection Victory on Easter Morning! Wow! What a time of the Church Year!
Our Lenten Theme for this year at Messiah is "Ubuntu." No, that word isn't a misprint! Ubuntu is a word from the Nguni languages - and it lifts up our interdependence. Ubuntu speaks of the essence of being human. Our humanity is intertwined. A person who "has" Ubuntu is connected, welcoming, generous, willing to share, and is aware and grateful that we are all bound up together in this "bundle of life," or as Frederick Buechner puts it:
"Our happiness is all mixed up with each other's happiness, and our peace, with each other's peace. Our own happiness, our own peace, can never be complete until we find some way of sharing it with those who, the way things are now, have no happiness and know no peace."
Ubuntu has to do with our being human together. In order to be fully human ourselves, we need to recognize and appreciate the full humanity of all other people. We could define Ubuntu as: "I am here because you are, we are because God is."
Beautiful, isn't it? During the Lenten season this year, let's commit together to celebrating, and continuing to grow, as Ubuntu people in an Ubuntu congregation. Let's commit together to grow as God's Beloved Children - indeed God's Beloved Humanity. Let's commit together to grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus - and to reflect that Grace and Knowledge to the world! And I encourage you to watch for opportunities around here at Messiah when Ubuntu will be lifted up and celebrated!
By experiencing the season of Lent - together, prayerfully, intentionally - I believe it will be a rich experience for each of us, and that Easter Sunday will dawn upon us as an Awesome, Joyful, Faith-Building event!
I wish you each a Blessed, and Ubuntu, Lenten Journey!
Remember, keep the faith and let the faith keep you!