Jill Duffield, senior pastor

Siblings in Christ,

While we are not where we had hoped to be by Lent 2021, we trust that God is nonetheless with us exactly where we are. The theme for this year, “Surely the Lord is in THIS place,” is taken from Genesis 28:16. Jacob wakes from his dream, having had the vision of the ladder and received God’s promise, and says, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was unaware of it.”

Often God is present and speaking but we are oblivious to these holy manifestations. This Lent we invite you to be open to the divine wherever you find yourself. Each week we will focus on a particular place: Our church, homes, neighborhood, city, and world and seek to discern where we see God in those places. We will offer a prayer walk, a pilgrimage and a point of view that will explore how we might look for God’s promises being fulfilled in our midst.

The prayer walks will be in the form of an audio guide that you can do whenever works for you. If you cannot get out and walk you are invited to listen to the guide and envision the journey. The pilgrimages will be virtual, videos of people and places you may know well or may be encountering for the first time. The points of view will also be videos. They will highlight voices of FPC members, community friends, and young Greensboro leaders. In addition, we will have opportunities for service throughout our 40-day journey.

As we go together through Lent 2021, we recognize that we are not where we might have hoped to be. We would never have thought that this Lent would be so similar to last year’s Lent. And yet, surely the Lord is in THIS place: in our church, our homes, our neighborhoods, our city and world. We prayerfully hope to be aware of this truth and be encouraged, enlivened and inspired as a result.

May this devotional help give you eyes to see and ears to hear God. There is a reflection and prayer for each week, along with daily entries for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter.

I also invite you to pray this prayer throughout our Lenten journey:

Loving God, as we begin this journey of penitence and promise, we stop and reflect on the events of the world and the state of our hearts. Show us where they intersect for good and for ill. Reveal to us how we might be agents of healing, ambassadors of reconciliation, stewards of your mysteries. Quiet our minds that we might better discern the leadings of the Holy Spirit. Help us to see with the eyes of Christ, perceiving your goodness and exercising your grace. When we fear we are alone, invade our sleep with vivid dreams of your promised presence, come to us in our waking hours with your surprising joy, seek us out with your overflowing mercy. Help us, wherever we are, to be at peace and know surely you are in THIS place. Amen.

Let our journey to Jerusalem begin.

Grace and peace,