Too often in this life, we forge links in our own chains … those chains that keep us in captivity to many things.
We allow our anger to forge a link in the chain, or perhaps our desire for revenge. We allow our shame to forge another link, perhaps shame over childhood abuse or perhaps an action we took at sometime in our lives that still causes us deep remorse.
We allow our depression to forge a link because we are so sure no one can help us.
We resent so many things and so many people, and that can forge a chain. We are addicted to harmful things and we just can’t stop. Another link.
And then, perhaps worst of all, we create stories that we tell ourselves – and others – to cover up our pain … to try and hide the links.
All these links form those chains that keep us captive, that take away our freedom, that make us less than who God calls us to be.
Our Lenten theme this year takes that truth about ourselves and seeks to help us move instead to freedom … helps us to take all the links … every last one of them … and heal them or let them go or turn them over to God.
Lent is time we are invited to set aside and do some of this serious work … to get honest about what the chains are all about and what it will take to move from them to true freedom. A time to stop creating stories and tell the truth.
To that end, I want our sanctuary table to become a place to literally lay them down during these 40 days of Lent.
Paul will create a Lenten table and on that table there will be pieces of paper and tape and a pen. On that paper you are invited to write a word or a phrase that signifies a “link” you are working to heal this Lent.
You can add to this paper chain anytime throughout Lent and we will include this paper chain in our prayers each Sunday. By making this chain we will symbolically let the community help us carry the burden.
Let’s all decide upon one of those chain links we want to be set free from … and commit ourselves to doing some work to make that happen.
We may not complete the work during these 40 days, but perhaps we can at least be honest about naming the issue as we add it to our community chain.
Honestly naming is the first step in healing. May this Lenten season begin our journey from captivity to freedom.