Jesus is a rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
My Jesus is a rock in a weary land,
A shelter in the time of storm.
African American spiritual
God of forgiveness and mercy, God of grace and truth, we enter this season of Lent with both gratitude and trepidation. Evidence of your reign often seems so sparse that we can barely see it in light of the pain and suffering all around us. And yet, just as we move through this forty days with the knowledge that Easter awaits us on the far side of Good Friday, so too your strength bolsters us to move through this life so surrounded by death with eyes keen for glimpses of the longed-for resurrection.
Even as stock markets fall across the world, we see hope grown in the changes to the government and economy in Ethiopia that allow Ethiopians who have been living in diaspora to return home and open new businesses.
Even as panic and fear spread along with the COVID-19 coronavirus, we see faith grow in the creative ways quarantined people in China are working to connect to each other, like gyms that now offer online workout classes to their members to keep them busy and active during the quarantines.
Even as political unrest increases around the world in places like Haiti and India, we see love grow in big and small ways every day, like for the Rhode Island, USA, toddler who hugged the pizza delivery man, not knowing that the man, who had recently lost his teenage daughter, deeply appreciated the small gesture of thanks and connection.
Help us, O God, to be always aware of your presence. Fill our hearts with longing for you so that, throughout this time of repentance and contemplation, our hope, faith, and love might grow to reflect who you are and who you call us to be. In our waking and in our sleeping, in our stillness and in our movement, make us ever more hopeful, faithful, and loving, so that the world might see the good news of the resurrection and bring glory to you alone.