The New York Times has been reporting on the “first major spiritual revival of the twenty-first century.” In the past few weeks, over 50,000 people have made a pilgrimage to Asbury College, a “tiny” non-denominational college in Kentucky. Many of the pilgrims are under 25, members of “the least religious generation in memory.”
What has got all these college students making a religious pilgrimage?
These young people are from a generation marked by unprecedented anxiety and suicide ideation. Their prayers at the revival have been for healing from mental health issues. Asbury College’s president suggests that in this time of disillusionment, the pilgrims are “raising their gaze to higher things.”
Last week, as the pilgrims kept watch in Asbury, many of us began our pilgrimage into Lent by attending an Ash Wednesday service at the cathedral. As the Dean observed in his powerful sermon, Ash Wednesday can bring us deep peace, even as we remember our mortality. We pray together and connect with love through the “intimate” ritual of imposing and receiving ashes.
In this way, Ash Wednesday mirrors a revival, where something is spiritually revived in us, allowing us to raise our gaze to higher things.
Fellow travelers in the Grace Cathedral community walk the Lenten path to the divine together. Let’s do so with open minds and hearts, striving to hear and honor the truth of each other’s journeys.
Our youth group is journeying through Lent with a series of gatherings on the theme of “rest, reset and reconnect for Lent.” In our gatherings, we share ways we recharge and go to our “peaceful place,” from crafting and walking to playing music. We are being led by our youth minister Victoria Linner, a seasoned veteran of lay ministry at Grace while still only a recent college graduate.
Victoria leads guided tours as a docent, sings with the Cathedral Singers, and stitches up a storm in the Stitching Ministry. Her activities reflect Grace’s many opportunities to gather and revive our spirits through music, the arts, and journeys into inspiring spaces.
Lent is a time to consider what our souls need to revive and what ministries or practices can restore us. Through Lent, as through the year, Grace offers many ways for us to heal in mind, body, and spirit and connect to the divine through music and art.
I trust we all continue to have a healing and reviving journey through Lent as we journey towards the promise of new life.
Associate for Children, Youth, and Family Ministry