Worship Schedule

Sunday 8:15 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite I
Sunday 10:45 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II
nave & online: Facebook/website
Tuesday 8:00 p.m. Compline
online: Zoom
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. Eucharist

Sunday mornings at Grace

Find Us

The Grace Church nave is located at the corner of Washington Street and Boulevard in Gainesville, Georgia.

The parish office, open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, is located at 422 Brenau Avenue. Come to the red door that faces Brenau Avenue and ring the bell for access.

Mailing Address: 422 Brenau Avenue, Gainesville, GA 30501
Phone: 770-536-0126

Driving Directions & Parking

Email Clergy & Staff

From the Clergy

Date Posted: March 2, 2022

Here’s to an Honest and Hopeful Lent

Stay well and have a Lent full of Godly surprises.

That is how a dear colleague ended an email to me on Tuesday. I have not had the chance to visit with her in a long time, and suddenly she appeared in a dream I had Monday night. In the dream, we had a great conversation (I don’t remember any of it) and I woke up smiling and got her contact information from another friend. It was a wonderful grace to begin the day with, and I have held on to her blessing and hope for a Lent fully of Godly surprises since then. 

Later on Tuesday, I looked around at a full parish hall at the Mardi Gras party and thought how fantastic it was to laugh with a three year-old as we tried to attach small sucky cup things to our hands. It was incredible to see folks giggling with syrup on their faces, and when I came home my face hurt from smiling. 

If you are anything like me, you’re probably feeling like we have been in Lent for over two years now. That great verse rings true indeed: “How long, O Lord!” It is true that we have wrestled with a lot, and it is true that we are still facing hardships both at home and around the world. In case you’re wondering, at no point in contextual education classes in seminary do they have a section on leading a parish in a long-term global pandemic along with a political dysfunction, war, and international crisis as well. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to navigate the enormous swirl of emotions that we all feel over the course of one day in this community’s life. Sometimes we need to go sit by a tree or take a walk and breathe deeply.

At the same Mardi Gras party, I had the chance to visit with a new family whose young daughter has just begun at Children of Grace. They were such kind souls, and I spoke with them a little bit while the dad held their five month-old son in his onesie. The dad looked at me and said, “What is the word for Sunday, Father?” I loved that question. It took me straight back to wonderful moments in the Egyptian desert in the 4th and 5th centuries when folks would go out of the cities to meet elders who lived away from the crowds. These elders had left the cities not to escape the hardships that society faced; rather, they took a step to gain a prayerful perspective that could help them engage those hardships more faithfully. When these folks would meet an elder, they would say, “Father or Mother, give me a word.” And the elder would share a brief reflection with them.  

So, here is the word I have for you: God is real, not just in the sense that God is an idea or something we think about, but that God is really real. God’s Spirit is all around us and within us, and Jesus came to remind us of this and to show us that we can trust this Presence. Because God is real and we can trust, we can name what we need to name in our lives. In fact, we’re called to be honest about what we are facing and to offer that heart-felt plea as a prayer. And, when we offer that prayer of our heart, we can trust that God’s presence can transform us–not that we “get what we want” but that we are transformed to trust God’s presence more and more. Through this, we learn what hope really means. I think this is what the Season of Lent gives us this year: a space to (re)learn what it means to have an honest and holy hope. 

Like I mentioned in my sermon on Sunday, so many have asked, “What can I do in these days?” If I can speak clearly for a moment, we can always recommit ourselves to our practice of prayer within a community of faith that seeks to support our spiritual growth by being honest about our lives and God’s love for us all. We need each other, and we need to pay attention to the Spirit’s call to grow closer to God—and one another. (Which, the Christian tradition tells us, are one and the same thing). 

One last thing: normally on Ash Wednesday, I pour the water in the baptismal font outside on the plants and fill the font with small dry pebbles, to remind us that we are in this reflective season of Lent–a desert time, if you will. This year I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I found myself standing by the baptismal font grateful for that water that reminded me of hope, that felt cool on my forehead and helped me remember God’s love. Maybe this Sunday (and each Sunday) it will help remind you too. 

Stay well and have a Lent full of Godly surprises.