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The Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist 200 Main St., Thomaston, Maine 04861
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Office Hours: Tuesday through Friday 8:30 am - 12 noon
Lent, a season of going home
by the Rev. Peter Jenks
When I was a young teenager the song by Simon and Garfunkel, Homeward Bound, moved me deeply. When I got a guitar, it was one of the first songs I learned to strum. There was something so poignant to the desire to have a home and to be away from it, longing to return.
I wish I was homeward bound; home where my thought's escaping; home where my music's playing, home where my love lies waiting silently for me.
Lent is the season in the church which leads up to Easter. It begins with Ash Wednesday and a reminder of our limited mortality and ends with the crucifixion of Jesus. It is a time to take stock and reflect on our life; return to reexamine areas of our life just passed over or of which we have not addressed; or resolve those things that have been haunting us and yet we have not faced and understood.
Dying is the ultimate act of going home, returning to the place from where we were before entering this mortal life at birth. It is a return to a place where all is resolved, all reunited. There is an understanding that all of us will return to the mystery beyond our mortal awareness. The cross at the end of lent reminds us that we are not alone in this journey, that God is with us and will be with us and has been with us. The more we come to know this presence of God with us now, the more we are aware of the loving assurance at the end of this journey. Fewer and fewer funerals in our area are religious or a part of a religious community. Most are simply a remembering of one’s life, sometimes done with more of an obligation than loving remembrance. The traditional Episcopal service has more to do with God and God’s company of divine mystery in our midst than simply our fading memories. We move towards a growing light in God, rather than a slowly diminishing remembrance of a light.
The going home of lent is also the opportunity for us to find healing. There is an old saying that “you cannot go home again”. Returning to places of our childhood reminds us of this fact, as life goes on and many things change. The place is not at the same time, nor with the same people at that place in their life. But we do return in our mind and hearts to the places in our past, and when there has been great wounds we can return again with the presence of Jesus. Bringing Jesus back with us into such memories allows us to find a deeper healing, forgiveness and somehow a renewed memory that no longer will haunt and taunt us.
Going home again in lent is also a way to remember the times and places where we have been touched by grace, discovered love, or had epiphanies of purpose. Returning to the beginning place of our calling, our love, or our joy can be a way to renew our relationships, our purpose and our sense of wonder.
Lent is a season where we can sing our longing to be homeward bound and make steps in that direction with renewed purpose, a freeing in healing and confidence of a love silently waiting for us.