Common Ground Editorial: February 2021

We find ourselves, once again, on the threshold of the Lenten season: 40 days of prayer, fasting, and charity, beginning this coming Ash Wednesday, 17 February, 2021. Through this season, we are encouraged to align our lives more closely with the life of Christ. And so, in keeping with the Church’s tradition, we have curated this first edition of Common Ground 2021 around the season of Lent.

To begin, you’ll find a piece from Rev. Frank Ritchie, which frames some of the history, tradition, and practices of Lent. This is especially helpful for those of us who haven’t grown up in church traditions that embrace the season. Lent also foregrounds the strange freedom to be found in submission to God. In “All that I have,” Rebekah McLeod (Intern, 2007/08) draws on her own experience to reflect on submission and relinquishment, and the freedom of saying “yes” to God.  

In our Alumni Interview, we asked Cassandra Burton-Wood (Fellow, 2018/19) to reflect on questions of time and Lent, and some of the ways she’s entering the season. And finally, after reflecting on the year that was 2020, we went to two elders in our community, Peter and Barbara Dennison, to draw out some wisdom. You can read their reflections in the piece titled, “A Pastoral Letter: Our Encouragement for 2021.”

Finally, to help your Lenten pilgrimage, we’ve created a set of seven devotionals, beginning with Ash Wednesday and tracing each of the six Sundays of Lent, finishing with Palm Sunday (look out for our Holy Week devotionals, which will follow these). You can download each of these cards and print them out for communal or individual use. We will also be sending these out weekly via email. You can sign up to receive these emails in your inbox here.

The banner image for this edition of Common Ground was created by alumna Kareen Durbin (Intern, 2010/11). As we enter into a season of fasting, we enter into the shadow of the palm, but this is juxtaposed with the sunlight filtering through, representing Christ’s conquering of death.

Our prayer is that this Lenten Common Ground will help you enter well into the coming season.


The Venn Team