We are in a season where we don’t need reminders of the fragility of life. Suffering and death consistently surround us.

Gaza. Sudan. Myanmar. Ukraine. Ethiopia. Yemen. Syria. Haiti. Venezuela. United States.

Whether it’s political tensions, civil wars or genocide, social and economic unrest, the epidemic of gun violence, the effects of colonization, or other violent acts you don’t have to look far to be reminded that life is short and brutal. You don’t have to scroll for more than a few seconds to see pictures of destruction and death.

Ash Wednesday was yesterday and the season of Lent is upon us – a season that culminates in intense sorrow and suffering.

Lent provides permission to sit in the lament and the pain. We are invited to feel the absence of peace and the sting of injustice.

And at the same time, as bridge builders, we cling to hope in the midst of it all. Because we know resurrection comes; we have faith that justice and righteousness and peace will reign; we rest in the truth that beauty comes from ashes.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace….

20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.

-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 20