April 1, 2021: All Souls Lenten Journey

By Kevin LeGrand, Junior Warden

Jesus washing of feet (crop)

A new commandment I give to you,
that you love one another:
just as I have loved you,
you also are to love one another.

(John 13:34)

The Christ-given commandment to love one another is commemorated on this day, Maundy Thursday, the day traditionally associated with the Last Supper (though some scholars now believe the Last Supper took place on Wednesday, April 1, AD33). Before Jesus celebrated a final meal with his disciples, he washed their feet and commanded them to do the same for each other. “Maundy” is derived from the Latin “mandatum,” which means command.    

On this Maundy Thursday, it is particularly fitting to reflect upon All Souls 2021 Lenten Journey - a journey that marked the one-year anniversary of living under the pandemic and a crucial time in our own transition from one rector to, eventually, the calling of our 9th rector. Wearied by the pandemic and our parish discord, are we yet able to manifest Christ’s commandment to love one another?

The final pre-Lent days were capped with a festive virtual Mardi Gras celebration that had been organized by a group of parishioners eager to bring forth our parish family’s vigor, resilience, and hospitality. Many of those who organized and attended the Mardi Gras celebration, along with other parishioners, found meaningful ways to live into Christ’s “mandatum” and to heed calls from Fr. Martin Smith to imagine the suffering of those in our midst during this pandemic and come together quickly to offer help in the name of Christ to those who are desperate. They relaunched the All Souls Outreach Committee and are identifying new causes particularly relevant to All Souls while continuing to honor long-standing commitments.

During lent, All Souls parishioners provided over $2300 in Giant gift cards to The Bishop Walker School for Boys, participated in Samaritan Ministry’s Next Step Breakfast, and made plans for future in-person volunteering with Food & Friends. We were reminded via lead articles in our weekly bulletin of All Souls' long-standing assistance to Christ House and our efforts to fund a clean water project in our partner parish in Santa Clara, Cuba and to resettle two refugee families. I’m re-invigorated by these ways our parish has put Christ’s commandment into action and loved fellow children of God who had been unknown to us.

The Lenten season intersected with a crucial time in our reconciliation and healing process as we heard the moving stories of persons with remarkably differing experiences of parish life at All Souls in recent years. Through these stories and in the discussions surrounding them, our capacity to love one another has grown. May this capacity for love remain in our hearts as we see differing tolerances for the duration of the reconciliation process become evident.

Yes, on this Maundy Thursday, I can see ways in which our All Souls family has heeded the commandment to love one another through outreach efforts both near and far and through emotional reconciling with fellow participants in our Zoom parish forums and storytelling sessions. Two additional ways to love one another may be crucial to All Souls future. The first of these is to reconnect with those members of our All Souls family who have found it difficult to stay engaged with All Souls during the pandemic. Is there a person you have not seen on a Zoom you could call to help them feel linked to their church family? Second, are there people in your networks you could welcome into some part of our All Souls community? For example, one parishioner has brought in a neighbor who loves to garden to help work the soil at All Souls. Another referred a friend to our group studying Richard Rohr’s The Universal Christ. Others regularly refer our thoughtful recorded services to friends around the country and around the world.   

As the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel appears to be approaching, it is fitting to ask how All Souls will live into the commandment to love one another going forward. In his December 6th homily, Fr. Martin suggested we ask “Where is Christ wanting to draw us? What does Christ yearn to see and help us create here? What kind of newness does Christ want to bring us?” It is through steadfast, honest, and humble pursuit of answers to such questions that All Souls will remain vital.



Last Published: April 9, 2021 12:06 PM
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