Dear Parishioners and Friends,
In the course of our work as priests, many of us will find small gifts of recommended reading left in our mailboxes or on our desks, sometimes anonymous, sometimes accompanied by a letter of recommendation. Newspaper clippings, magazines, and books on topics ranging from archaeology, to grief, to the existence of heaven have all found their way to me over the years. Whatever the topic, it is something that moved the reader to want to share it with me, which I count as a blessing.
Oftentimes we priests also find ourselves at a loss for words (believe it or not!), especially when it comes to seasons and observances that return year after year. This is when I rely upon a favorite passage from scripture: "...
do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." (Matthew 10:19-20)
You would be surprised how often the Spirit comes through, often in the form of those articles left on my desk.
Today I would like to turn the tables, so to speak, and offer
a recommendation. The Book of Common Prayer exhorts us to utilize Lent as a time of "
self-examination and repentance; [of] prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and [of] reading and meditating on God's holy Word. In her short essay, "
Letter of Recommendation: Lent
," Rachel Howard chronicles her journey over the course of four Lents, slowly and fully laying her guilt before God, and humbly and joyfully receiving his forgiveness.
May you also experience the reconciling embrace of God's love this Lent.