Lent is certainly not the joy and peace of Advent, is it? We just celebrated that time of year it seems like. Christmas carols, movies, chocolates and candy, gift giving, decorating, etc. Lent doesn’t necessarily bring that. This season is the transition to spring as we start to see a little bit more green every day, but it’s a solemn time of the Christian calendar as we prepare for Christ’s brutal violent death by crucifixion and the immense joy Easter Sunday brings us. Both seasons in the Christian calendar bring an array of emotions, but as we find ourselves moving into Holy week, the emotions of the Lenten season always seem to fill me with grief and sadness. And truly, that’s what makes Easter Sunday so magnificent. Resurrection, new life, and new birth after so much death, destruction, and grief.

Many of my family members died around this time of year. Each year as an anniversary date comes up, I take time to remember them and live into the memories I have of them. This past Lenten season, we received a letter for someone else besides Ryan and me. We’ve received letters like that in the past, usually junk mail that lands in the recycling bin. This was to the “The Estate of.” After a little bit of digging, I learned that they were the original owners of the house. They sounded like truly wonderful people. She was a long-time teacher at Washington High School—teaching English and Debate, and coaching swimming. They never had children of their own but were long-time foster parents. Being a writer, the wife wrote many articles for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. And as I dug deeper, I noticed the dates. The husband died almost twenty years before the wife. I grieve for her and how painful that may have been. From stories in the neighborhood, she grieved greatly during those twenty years. They had been married for over forty years.

This Holy Week, I hope to visit their gravesites, praying a blessing over them, and I hope that they might be happy for how we cultivate the home they designed and built. As it was for them, it’s a home that brings us delight.

May this Holy Week be what it needs for you, whether that be a space for grief, for crying, laughter, walks, or maybe even silence. My prayer is that you encounter the Spirit this week in Jesus’ final week, death, crucifixion, and in the joy of resurrection.

Peace, Pastor Kristina