Pastor’s Message | March 2020

          With the shift from the season of Epiphany to the season of Lent, we are shifting our gaze from outside to inside; from the Light of God’s appearance in the world to searching the shadows within us, and asking the Lord to shine His Light and dispel our darkness. The liturgical color of Epiphany is green, and the liturgical color of Lent is purple. Perhaps that is why the colors of Mardi Gras (which culminates on “Fat Tuesday,” the day before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins) are green, purple, and gold.

          We have a color story here. In each season the church drapes the holy furnishings – the places where the Word of God is read, preached, and served at the altar – each in its seasonal color. On the day that we transition from green to purple, Ash Wednesday, we impose another color, the black of ashes in the shape of the cross, on each person’s forehead. We wear the black of mourning, but only for a day, to remind us that there is a price on our head. We are brought to acknowledge that Death for each of us is a certainty. But for those who trust in Christ, that acknowledgement is in the shape of a cross, and we know with the deepest gratitude that the price on our head has been paid in full. At the end of the day we can wash our face and turn to face the shadows without fear, full of hope, and even joy.

          There is a beautiful thing happening in Haverford Township that is a living illustration of the description above, and we at Grace Lutheran Church are a part of it. In the midst of the green season of Epiphany, a light went on, literally. You may have noticed the green lights shining from front porches, storefronts, and churches in support and encouragement of several students in our district who are battling childhood cancer, including Lily Walker, Hanna Hermansen, and Jack Cloran whom we have been praying for on our weekly prayer list. This color was chosen by their friends as a “happy color, which stands for bravery and positivity.” I would add to this that when this green light shines out into the darkness from Grace Lutheran Church, we are acknowledging the price that is on each of our heads, and that we face the darkness and its shadows without fear, together in solidarity with our neighbors who are suffering in its grasp, and we proclaim hope and even joy as we face our shadows together. How good it is to take what is inside of the church and let it be seen outside.

          May the Light of Christ shine upon you, and from you, wherever you turn. Remember always that you are redeemed by the One Who paid your debt in full. May it be a beautiful and life-giving Lenten journey for us all.

God’s Peace to you,

Pastor Leslie M. Richard