A Pastoral Reflection, The Third Week in Lent, The Umpteenth Week in Official Pandemic Status — March 5, 2021
This week I learned that a pastor known to some in this congregation—Deb Benson—lost her eighteen-month battle with cancer Tuesday evening. She was a gifted colleague, friend, and all-around good person who loved God, life, and the church. Sadly, Deb was several years away from retirement and has been eagerly looking forward to that time in her life.
This untimely loss has caused me to muse about how, if there is a “season” for grieving, I think it must be Lent. The colors of Lent are somber, many of Lent’s songs are mournful. Our bodies also sense this season—more people come to the end of life in late winter than in other months of the year.
Lent is a time when we explore the whole nature of grief. Jesus taught that it is necessary for each of us to die to sin. But sin, by its very nature, is alluring, otherwise why would we find it so attractive. And so when we resolve to die to sin, grieving that loss is part of the package. God mourns our sin too. 1 Corinthians 4:30 says, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption.”
Ah, but there’s such good news too! On the other side of loss and grief is redemption. On the other side of death is resurrection. The passage between the two is found by faith in God.
Deb Benson's Memorial Service will be this Sunday, March 7 at 2pm. Due to COVID and state restrictions only immediate family have been invited to attend in person. The service will be live-streamed and recorded on the Anacortes Lutheran Facebook page.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Deb’s name can be made to the Anacortes Lutheran Church Scholarship Fund.
The Rev. Beth Purdum Eden is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has served in more than 6 parishes in the Western United States for 30 years.