Lent is upon us! While that may sound a bit scary or daunting for some, I wait in anticipation at what God may do in our midst this season if we are open to God’s activity.
Lent, as I’ve written in the past, is not a season I grew up observing, but one in which I have come to find great meaning. It is a forty day observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday. It is traditionally described as lasting for forty days as Jesus spent forty days fasting and being tempted in the desert, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, before beginning his public ministry.
For me it is a season of self-reflection. Every year I like to ask myself how I am different this Lent than I was last Lent. Am I more like Christ? Am I more compassionate… patient… loving… generous…? What is keeping me from these things: from loving God more fully and my neighbor more like I’m to love myself? You may have heard that many give up something for Lent, ideally as a discipline of fasting and submitting ourselves to God. If that is something you find helpful then I invite you to do that. Another practice might be taking on a practice for Lent. That could be walking or volunteering somewhere or reading more. Whatever you do, please don’t let Lent pass you by without creating a space for reflection and transformation.
One way that I propose we do that together is to read the Gospel of John in its entirety during Lent. We will be doing a sermon series on John during the Sundays in Lent but in addition to that I am setting a Lenten Challenge. In this newsletter you will find the Gospel broken down by days if that is helpful to you, or feel free to read in a way that is more helpful to you. My hope is that the Gospel of John will help you to grow deeper in your faith and that through your study of this gospel you will find life in Christ’s name.
Lent officially begins on Wednesday, February 14. We hope you’ll join us for the one of the most meaningful services of the year that night at 6:30 pm.
I am praying for you as we prepare to seek and hear God, and prepare for Easter during this time of transformation.
Grace, peace, and courage-