Post date: Mar 05, 2012 10:42:39 PM

During the month of March we are in the season of Lent in the church year. We began our Lenten journey with Jesus on February 22nd, Ash Wednesday. The word “Lent” actually comes from an old English word meaning “to lengthen”. The days are lengthening now. Spring is coming. (It must be because the wind is blowing!) So “Lent” in one sense just means Spring. Many folks start to do some spring cleaning this time of year, both in the house and in the yard. We may tackle those tasks which are just too difficult to do in the cold and snow of winter. During Lent we always to do some Spring cleaning here at the church, too. We wash windows, dust the high places and do some yard clean-up.

But of course Lent is more than just physical house cleaning. Lent is about spiritual house cleaning. Lent is about throwing off some of those bad spiritual habits that perhaps we have accumulated since Christmas. Lent is about returning to God through prayer, fasting, Bible reading, worship and works of charity. Lent is about being intentional in our walk with Jesus as we journey with him to Jerusalem and the cross. To be sure, none of the disciplines of Lent are ways to earn God’s favor. There’s no earning to it. God gives us everything by grace through the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus. Forgiveness, life and salvation are the free, yet costly and priceless gifts to us through the cross of Jesus. But worship, prayer, fasting, Bible study and works of love toward our neighbors in need are ways to be intentional in our Lenten journey with Jesus.

Intentionality: It often takes intentionality to really make things happen. What happens if you say to a friend, “Let’s have lunch sometime”? Well, nothing happens—right? “Sometime” just never quite comes. If you really want it to happen you both have to set a date and write it on your calendars.

It can be the same with our spiritual lives. If we say we’ll make it to Bible study “sometime” or we’ll go buy some food for the food bank “sometime” or we’ll make 5 minutes in the day for prayer and devotions “sometime”, what happens? Probably nothing. “Sometime” just never quite comes. But if you make the time for prayer first thing in the morning, or right after dinner, then it probably will happen. Or if you write some needed food bank items on your grocery list, then it probably will happen. And as we are intentional in our spiritual lives, our faith relationship with God will deepen.

In addition to our regular Sunday 8:45 AM education hour and 10 AM worship hour, there are other opportunities for worship and prayer. At 7:00 AM on Wednesdays there is an informal 30 minute Holy Communion worship service. On Wednesday evenings during Lent join us for a simple meal of soup and bread at 6:00 PM followed by a 20 minute study session on Biblical stewardship at 6:45, then a 20 minute Holden

Evening prayer service at 7:10 PM. On Thursdays at 9:00 AM join us for prayer and Bible Study.

When our foreheads were marked with a cross of ashes on Ash Wednesday, we heard the words, “Repent and believe the good news.” I like Professor Sarah Heinrich’s translation of this as “Refocus and trust the good news.” Lent is a time to refocus on the ways of Jesus and trust the good news that Jesus has died and is risen to save us.

Peace in Jesus,

Pastor Dennis