Welcome dear readers to our final devotional, as the title reflects, on Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday. Almost one year, we began this daily reflection/devotional journey together, on Ash Wednesday, February 27th, 2020. Just a short daily spiritual tickler to invite parishioners into a more engaging Lent, we thought. And after quickly realizing the enormity of the looming pandemic, I began a more substantive daily engagement. Through Lent, Holy Week, Easter, the Great Fifty Days to Pentecost we travelled, spiritually tethered though physically quarantined. And out came…everything I have ever learned, seen, read, heard, written, preached and pondered about the divine mysteries of our hope in Christ. I thought to keep it light and conversational, though I never spared you vocabulary, theology, philosophy, history, literature music, entertainment culture or even fantasy if it served the purpose of inviting us deeper into the mystery of that day. I wrote not for the academy but for you, your living room, prayer corner, study, home chapel, dining room table and maybe other places too. I kept it personal and colloquial but certainly tested your time and patience at times, for which I apologize. If I happened to bring a smile in a hard time, thanks be to God! We met all kinds of folks along the way, hopefully new friends and travel companions for you, and a reunion for me with my beloved Egeria often on our road. If my lifetime captivation with the Holy Land has rubbed off on you…GOOD! We’ll return to the Holy Land once this contagion ends its captivity of our nation, so you are cordially invited to be a pilgrim with us to the land we call the 5th Gospel!
We took a hiatus following Pentecost as this level of daily composition was impossible to sustain throughout the summer and early fall given our intensive pastoral and logistical challenges. I felt it important to “close the devotional loop” by restarting on the First Sunday of Advent and continuing until today, making sure to include those significant feast days which complete the annual Christian worship story. Along the way we tallied 169 daily devotions (wow) welcoming well over 3,500 visits (more wow). Essentially we wrote a book together dear readers! And we’ll keep them all up under episcopalvail.com’s Who We Are pull-down column on the home page if anyone would like to re-visit them.. Just begin on Ash Wednesday or mark the major holidays to stay on this year’s schedule.
I am honored to have travelled with each of you as your fellow Christian disciple, pilgrim and companion on the road. My deepest gratitude to Katie Campbell, colleague, creative artist with pictures and text and websites, and my friend. Katie took these rough reflections and imaged them, formatted them and very diligently uploaded them for our benefit. Thank you for reading, for your very kind encouragements and constructive feedback, but most of all, for your willingness to take a step or two into a world of spiritual reality following Jesus. It is the greatest adventure of any kind, to know Jesus and be known by Him, in this life. Jesus challenged His disciples to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. I’ll see you out on the road!