Post date: Feb 27, 2018 5:56:13 PM
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
During the month of March we are in the season of Lent. With Spring officially beginning on March 20th, many people start to do some spring cleaning at home: dusting, washing, some yard work, (bathing the dog at Messy Mutts)—all those things that are just too hard to do in the cold and dark of winter. In the church year, Lent is like spring cleaning for the soul. During the 40 days of Lent we are asked to intentionally struggle against all those things that get in the way of loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Repentance and forgiveness, prayer, fasting, Bible reading, worship and acts of loving charity toward our neighbors in need are all good ways to go about spring cleaning for the soul, heart, mind and body. In the early church, Lent was a time of instruction for people preparing for baptism at Easter.
Holy Week begins the last week of March. During Holy Week we come to the main things of our Christian faith: the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. On Palm Sunday, March 25, we remember that Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem as a humble king. On Maundy Thursday, March 29, we remember that Jesus washed his disciples feet, ate his last meal with friends and began the Lord ‘s Supper. On Good Friday, March 30, we remember that Jesus died on the cross to atone for the sins of the whole world. And on Sunday, April 1, we celebrate the day that changed the whole world forever, the Resurrection of our Savior Jesus.
We are in the year of the Gospel of Mark this year. Mark devotes more than a third of his 16 chapters to the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. This is the story, the good news, which the gospel writer Mark really wants to tell and hastens us toward right from chapter one, verse one. This “kerygma”, this essential main thing, is what Mark, and all the gospel writers want us to know: the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah, God’s Son. Jesus’ death for the world and all people means forgiveness of sins and new life. Jesus’ resurrection from death means the defeat of death and the devil, and it means new life now and everlasting life with God in his full kingdom forever. In other words, in the words of Rob Bell’s book--“Love Wins”. The love of God shown to us and all people through the death and resurrection of Jesus is the winning word. Though death and evil still prowl around in our world causing misery and mischief, there is no doubt about the final outcome. Sin, death and the devil are defeated through the cross of Jesus. Love, life and salvation are assured through the resurrection of our Savior Jesus.
Let us follow our Savior Jesus to Jerusalem and the cross through the disciplines of Lent. Then we shall be able to truly celebrate his world changing life and love at his resurrection from death.
Serving God and Neighbor with You, Pastor Dennis