Holy Vessels: a Lenten season of healing

Do you remember last Lent? I do, it was my first at Calvin. I fondly remember the first and second Sundays in Lent 2020. We had this sense that we are God’s precious children, holy vessels of embodied love embarking on a new journey with a new pastor.

Then, quarantine happened. I distinctly remember talking with Connie and agreeing that we’d be back together in 4 or 5 weeks. Well, here we are, nearly a year later. Thank God we have a vaccine and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I am keenly aware that I’m not the only one for which 2020 will be remembered with infamy. In the least we’re all exhausted, we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, and in the most we’re beaten up and broken. We have been through a harrowing time since last Lent. It has shattered our sense of wholeness– body, mind, and spirit–like a glass vessel fractured into pieces.

Calvin’s Lent this year is going to be different. Not necessarily because of COVID, or because our amazing worship team is going to raise the bar again, or because Dr. Marsha Mcfee’s ‘Worship Design Studio’ has created another inspiring set…all that’s happening. Rather, this Lent is different because it’s going to be a “season of healing” for our physical, communal, mental, intellectual, and environmental health, as we explore the healing narratives of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. They tell of Christ’s solidarity with our suffering and all human suffering and remind us that with God’s help, we can embark on a journey toward making something beautiful from that which is seemingly broken.

Ash Wednesday is a time of naming our brokenness. As we enter the season of Lent, we commit to enter also into a season of healing that requires the naming of what has been shattered as a first step. We take “the yoke” of responsibility as disciples of Jesus to be the Body of Christ–a body of those who need healing and offer healing in the world. The promise of Jesus is that he is with us in our weariness and burdens.

We’re still working out the details but on Ash Wednesday you will be invited to come to Calvin and instead of receiving ashes, safely receive a Lenten Worship Bag containing beach glass, craft wire, worksheets for the children and some individual, small group and adult education resources.

You will also receive suggestions on how to put together a Sacred Space at home, where you and your loved ones will worship this Lent. You will be encouraged to put the beach glass on a tray, with a candle(s), a glass bowl(s) and a glass vase(s) of your liking, with your bible open to that week’s scripture. Your sacred space will find its home likely either on your TV stand or dining room table. You will be encouraged to worship with your loved ones, with your TV and sound system’s volume up because worship, especially at Calvin, is an immersive experience filled with divine sights and sounds. Try it, you won’t be disappointed. We did and were blown away by the difference it makes; it alone was inspiring!

Why Lenten Worship Bags? Because each week you will have the opportunity to shape the beach glass into something symbolic of the week’s healing theme or scripture. Post pictures of it with descriptions of why it’s meaningful to you and your loved ones. You will also have opportunities to feel the glass, pray with its brokenness, and take pieces with you and create new things with the glass that transforms it from broken, into whole. The Sacred Space and your beach glass creation’s presence throughout the weeks of Lent will deepen the transformative process for you, your loved ones, and your community.

Why Beach Glass? Because it begins as something whole and yet discarded. As it is tumbled by the sea, it is broken and polished until it becomes a treasured “mineral gem.” The same is true of us and yet we do not embrace that suffering is necessary or God-given, but that suffering is a part of life. When pain comes and brokenness enters our lives, Jesus reaches out to touch and remind us of the Treasure that we all are–worthy of new life in the midst of hopelessness. In a year when pandemic has wreaked havoc on our world, we begin by affirming our journey to health.

Please, won’t you join us as we enter into the healing adventure God has in store for us?





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