Preparing to “Observe a Holy Lent”

Dear Christ Church,

What do snails, backyards, trauma, and Lent have to do with each other? Read on (and listen) and you’ll piece it together. With Ash Wednesday only twelve days away it’s time for us to begin preparing to “observe a holy Lent,” as the prayer book puts it. In the weeks to come be on the lookout for ways Christ Church will do this together! In the meantime, I want to share with you two incredible ways to get started.

1) Listen to this podcast, in which you will hear a theology of suffering and joy, a spirituality of limitations and hope, and what keeping the faith looks like through times of severe trial. This episode features my wife, Christine, talking about her near-fatal accident five years ago and the ongoing recovery, and what it means to keep living with perseverance through pain. It’s so beautiful! I live with this amazing woman and watch and hear her daily fight through obstacles, but I was freshly drawn to the beauty of God and the wonder of life—and our creaturely faithfulness—as I listened to this holy conversation. I also commend this to anyone at Christ Church who might have just joined in the past few years, as a way to better know/understand this congregation you’ve joined, and to better know me, my wife, and my family.

2) Pick up a copy of our 2023 Lenten book selection, Backyard Pilgrim, by Fr. Matt Canlis. You might remember his wife Julie, our parish retreat speaker in 2018, and you might have seen his short film Godspeed. I want to strongly encourage everyone at Christ Church to read through—and walk through!—this deeply formational and richly textured little book. I say “walk through,” because each 5 minute reading of the day is meant to be accompanied by a 15 minute walk in your neighborhood. Pick up a copy this Sunday at church and you’ll see the creative intentions of this book, engaging our bodies, senses, hearts, and minds with a greater sense of God’s presence and activity everywhere we turn.



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