“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray...to be seen by others. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” Matthew 6: 5,6
Let’s think a little about this season of grace we've entered, called Lent. Given that you’ve had much less human contact for almost a year now, one could say that we've been forced to live what Jesus instructs in this bible verse. It’s like we started Lent a long time ago. We haven’t had as many daily interactions with other people on “the outside” through which we knew our roles, our purposes, our direction. Now we find ourselves mostly in our living room, our kitchen, or the bedroom, where few can see us. Feeling a little lost, we wonder about who we are, and where to turn. Who am I, if I’m not in the eyes of those who I need to approve of me?
In this season we're invited to come closer to Christ, the one who was a person like us. He's also occupying your room and looking at us knowingly. Rather than avoiding what is uncomfortable, with Christ we can sit with our limits, our ambiguities, our covering-up. In this quiet space, outside the gaze of approval from others, we’re allowed to feel exposed, anxious, aware that we're not who we project ourselves to be.
The gift that Lent is, to be aware that one who loves us is bringing us into being, melting our hearts, freeing us to let go, to trust, to forgive.
Pastor Strasser, Chaplain
The Rev. Dr. Arden Strasser has been Chaplain at St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's since 2017. He is also Pastor at Saint Luke's Lutheran Church in Times Square.
Pastor Strasser earned degrees from the University of Rochester, the University of Colorado, and the University of Natal, South Africa. He earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University. Pastor Strasser has also served on the boards of the Volunteer Missionary Movement and the American International School of Lusaka.