It’s hard to believe it’s been just about a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything.
One day, things were rolling along as usual at the seminary—classes, meetings, chapel, community activities—and the next, everything shut down.
We moved most of our operations to remote work. Classes became entirely virtual. We suspended all seminary-related travel. Surely, many of you have had similar experiences, enduring changes to your everyday rhythms that have been just as, if not more, disruptive.
When it all started, it struck me as fitting somehow that it happened during the season of Lent, when we are drawn into contemplation of our mortality and frailty. Yet even then, I never imagined that we might go through yet another Lenten season physically distanced. I thought last year we were experiencing the “lentiest” Lent of my lifetime, but one year later, we’re still in the throes of it—except now we’re mourning the unspeakable tragedy of nearly 2.5 Million deaths around the world, and dealing with the incalculable social, emotional, economic, and spiritual fallout of a global crisis.
In many ways, it almost feels as if this entire year has been an extended Lent. So as we approach the season again, one year later, what are we to do?
There are no easy answers, except to allow this moment to turn us again—or is it still?—to the cross of Jesus. Perhaps we can take a moment to reflect on and grieve everything and everyone we have lost this past year. Perhaps we can hold onto one another, even from a distance. Perhaps we can remember that in our time of mourning and loss, there is hope in Jesus’ resurrection life—because Christ has entered death itself, in order to destroy it and raise us out of it.
Perhaps, together, we can continue to press on, knowing that no matter what happens, we are never, ever alone and are always held in the loving embrace of God who has promised to be with us in the midst of the mess.
May God grant us all strength and peace on our Lenten journey this year.
Robin J. Steinke, President