March 05, 2020 by Jesse Lebus
St. Luke’s, friends and family:
It may be early - we may get another cold spell or even a snowfall - but yesterday in my regular stroll around our courtyard and grounds I saw crocuses (or as Clara refers to them: feather flowers.) Along with snow drops, cardinals and spring peepers, crocuses are a sign that something is coming, the earth around us is being reborn!
In 325 CE, the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon occurring on or after March 21st (the approximation of the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.) It’s clear that those responsible for composing both the Nicene Creed and setting the method to determine Easter Sunday were aware of our relationship to one another, the cosmos, and to our God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier.
For Christians who live above the equator, the earth makes its transition from winter to spring in the midst of Lent. As we prepare by fasting, almsgiving and prayer for our annual celebration of Christ’s resurrection, the earth is also preparing. The ground is stirring with a latent energy of its own; great anticipation builds in the Church - the body of Christ - and also in the soil, flora and fauna that surround us.
With this in mind, the smallest encounter can become an opportunity for meditation on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection: flowers crowning through damp soil, the shift to daylight savings time, or the marked increase of people walking around the village in the morning. The seasons - both earthly and liturgically - present portals that we may enter and draw closer to God in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
There is also within each of us a latent energy; a dormant seed or small ember waiting to burst into light and life. May this season find us watering and stoking; seeking to grow into Christ, and into an awareness of ourselves and the God who loves us!
Common Sense Safety
We are in the midst of another season, flu season, and this year we have been introduced to an alarming infectious disease: COVID-19, or Coronavirus. I know that all of us are following the development of this virus and making changes in our lives accordingly. Like the flu, it is something to take seriously.
To that end, and out of consideration for members of our church whose health may already be compromised, I want to encourage our congregation to avoid handshaking and cheek kissing during the sign of the peace. To make eye contact with those around us, to bow in reverence to each other, and to offer Christ’s peace to our neighbors in the spirit of unity and reconciliation will draw us into a deeper awareness of this ancient tradition. Consider it our Lenten fast.
And please, wash your hands frequently. There is a hand sanitizer station as you enter the church, one on the wall across from the office and one in the classroom hall. Be assured that those who serve at the altar, in the sacristy and around the church are taking the necessary precautions.
Yours in Christ,