Lent should stop us in our tracks


The blizzard turned the wedding into a question mark, but love prevailed. Guests arrived bundled against the onslaught of cold, ice, and snow. The screech of the wind brought the wedding guests to the edge of their seats, as they strained to hear the recitation of familiar vows.

The great ceiling beams of the sanctuary creaked and groaned. Snow drifted through tiny gaps between the stone walls and wooden windows. Candles blew sideways, despite hurricane globes purported to protect them from the wind.

With all stops pulled, the organ could barely be heard above the storm as bride and groom sealed their vows with a kiss.

The crowd poured from the church, and slid into ice coated cars. Engines sputtered. Horns honked as the bride and groom emerged breathless with excitement and joy. Her veil, danced wildly in the wind as it was ripped from her hair.

Like fisherman straining to retrieve their nets, the couple lurched forward to rescue it. Cars crept from the parking lot toward the reception on black ice. White outs obscured vision, but the happy couple and their guests pressed on toward the celebration.

A few hours later the police pounded on the wedding reception door. “An emergency travel ban has been declared! You all must leave. The roads will soon be closed. Driving is treacherous. You must all leave now. The party is over!”

The great blizzard raged until morning. Sunday worship and learning opportunities were cancelled. Habit propelled me, like Samuel’s repeated call from God, to get up and walk across to the church.

Struggling across the unplowed street, climbing over drifts, it took all my strength and weight to unlock and pull open the great doors. The sanctuary was bathed in the scent of white wedding lilies, now fully in bloom.

From the flank of clear glass windows, the white light of a snow covered world flooded the room. The beauty of it made me gasp.

Time stood still in the presence of God. How long was I there drinking it in? To this day the memory of it fills my soul.

The forty days of Lent are meant to stop us in our tracks, to bathe our world in purity and light, to scent our journey to the cross, to strike our memory and restore our soul.

Let nothing distract us from the Spirit’s Lenten call. Let nothing keep us from traveling with Christ in this sacred season. Let nothing bar us from the anticipated and true beauty of God’s prevailing love.

Forty days are few in the midst of many, but so well spent as they fuel a lifetime of love in hope eternal.

By Rev. Valerie W. Stultz


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