Incremental steps back to a future we have yet to discover

In these waning days of Lent we stand again on the cusp of Holy Week — coming to the end of the forty day journey we know leads through the pain of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Day. And this year — the Year of Our Lord 2021 — we make that ancient, collective journey for the second time in the throes of global pandemic.

To say the least, it has been a year of challenge … and the journey continues.

In a recent meeting with diocesan leadership, Los Angeles Bishop John Taylor spoke of “incremental steps back to a future we have yet to discover.” And in her wonderful new book “The Church Cracked Open” Stephanie Spellers unpacks that challenge with these powerful words:

I love the church
the same way Frederick Douglass loved America:
not in spite of its brokenness,
not hiding from its truths,
but taking what is and what could be
and embracing it with deep love
and fierce, unshaken hope.

That’s the kind of love
our church cracked open needs right now.
A love that gets frustrated and angry
but keeps on going.
A love that gets sad and tired
but keeps on hoping.
A love that’s willing to smash our own jars
and let the oil pour,
because we trust God
is creating something
even more beautiful
with these broken pieces.

Stephanie Spellers, The Church Cracked Open

So today — on this Thursday in the 5th Week of Lent — let us pray for the Church in all its beauty and brokenness. And let us pray that we might do our part to love, serve and challenge it to live up to its high calling to truly be the Body of Christ in the world.

Holy God, we pray for your Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake
of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen

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