- The Rev. Arianne Rice
Lenten Reflections: Introduction
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5
This book may not be a burning bush, but it is on fire with sacred story.
In July of 2020 after several months of not gathering in person for worship or meetings, a small group of parishioners met on my patio. We were socially distant but yearning for heartfelt connection. The realities of illness and death of pandemic had expanded. Along with everyone else in our world we had taken in horrific scenes of brutality and powerful scenes of witness and protest.
“What is going on in our world?” all of us wondered. “Aren’t we past all this?” “What can we do?”
In his introduction to the Sacred Ground series, our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry used the passage from Exodus describing Moses’ first encounter with God. An encounter where God insisted Moses was up to the task of becoming part of the salvation story. A liberating and life-giving story that comes through struggle. All of us have our own stories of struggle and liberation. Together we have shared stories of the same. In the Christian faith we learn to see God at work in our lives through our stories. Bishop Curry noted that anytime someone tells their story you are standing on holy ground.
On my patio that summer day we shared our sadness, fear and discomfort around the topic of racism. The idea of taking on a 10-session curriculum that brought to life long-ago history and conflict was not necessarily something any of us wanted to do. But the idea of creating sacred ground, through our stories and from our history seemed promising. We could try.
And we did. Over five months the people who shared reflections in this book created sacred ground. We struggled, cried, laughed and mourned. We have much to lament, but it is our hope that this Lenten reflection booklet sparks the stories of your heart. As one of our Sacred Ground prayers said, “May our thoughts and feelings create fires that ignite the gifts of learning, healing, and transformation. May we recognize and honor the depths of our interconnectedness.”
Blessings in the holy season of Lent,