Reverend Kristine A. Johnson

Dear friends in Christ,

In the flurry of preparation for Lent and looking ahead to Holy Week, it hit me today that although I have been with you for nearly two and a half years, we have not journeyed through Lent, Holy Week, and Easter together in person, in our sanctuary. Two years ago, between the second and third Sundays in Lent, we moved most of our church activities – worship, fellowship, and education, online. In my April 2020 reflection, I wrote these words: “In all we are doing, I feel like we are planting a virtual garden together. I am full of holy curiosity about what it will produce.”

That first garden produced beautiful and nourishing fruit under difficult circumstances. And as it was growing, we kept planting seeds. And they have grown, and some of the fruit has been harvested, and yet we keep planting. Because that’s what we do. That is what we are called to do.

This year we will celebrate the 135th anniversary of the dedication of St. Mary’s by-the-Sea. For over 135 years there has been a community of Christ followers in Pacific Grove, going out from this block between 12th and 13th and Central and Ricketts Row, and inviting people in, and doing the best they can to bring the good news of God’s love for all people to this town and beyond. Ours has not been the only difficult season, and that has been a source of comfort and strength to us. We are not called to complete God’s work here, but we are called to take our place in the long line of saints who have gone before, and who will come after.

Lent is a special season when we turn intentionally to God, and seek to align our wills with God’s. As we walk this Lenten path and beyond, the Vestry and I are committed to listening more intently for the word of God to this community and being alert to the movement of the Holy Spirit among us. I invite you to join us in praying for our path to be illuminated, and for our planting and harvesting to be fruitful, so that our garden may continue to grow and please God.

Wishing you blessing on your Lenten journeys, and looking forward to being with you, in person and online, as we observe this holy season.