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Dear Dayspring Family,

Here we are again, experiencing the season of Lent. It was during this time last year, we were learning about Covid-19. We were uncertain and we were unprepared.

We didn’t know, what we didn’t know. Now a year later, everything has changed.

We find ourselves existing by ourselves or with our families, physically distant from world outside our homes. When we do venture out into the world, our faces are hidden behind a mask leaving only our eyes to express our facial emotions for one another. Our connection to the outside world has become a virtual reality of faces on a computer screen. Who knew the creators of the Jetsons space cartoon would foretell our communication practices of today.

But in the midst of this season, we have found hope.

We have found hope through the gifts of vaccines.

We have found hope through human acts of kindness.

We have found hope through nature through exploring the beautiful desert landscape.

We have found hope through the gift of our pets who bring us comfort especially during this time of isolation.

We have found hope as space is created to listen carefully to our black and brown siblings as we listen to the harm of systemic racism in the church, in our government, and in our country.

During this season of Lent, I encourage all of us to make our hope active. Without action our hope can diminish to only a fantasy. Find ways to make your hope active by helping people get registered for the vaccine or give them a ride to the vaccination station. Be a gift of kindness by volunteering at a food bank, checking up on a neighbor, or simply writing a handwritten note to someone who needs encouragement.

Notice nature, hike the beautiful desert landscape we live in. Father Richard Rohr, on a recent podcast, shared how he has started watching nature shows as way of experiencing the beauty of God’s handiwork. If getting outside isn’t possible, watch and share with someone what you have discovered. Find ways to start recycling. Purchase and consume only what you need. Activate your hope by supporting an animal shelter or be willing to adopt a pet who needs a home. Activate your hope by joining the listening conversation with our black and brown siblings. Find ways to actively be involved in racial reconciliation.

No doubt, this past pandemic year has been hard. However, I am thankful how Dayspring has seized the day to address the hard questions and actively participate in the hope that God calls us to lead. Thank you Dayspring for being you. May we all continue to discover our gifts and graces and be fully present in our world.

You are loved and appreciated,
Pastor Joel