We kicked off our Lenten observance this past Wednesday evening and have begun our 40-day journey to Holy Week and Easter. One of the questions I often hear is, “Why do we say there are 40 days in Lent when there are 45 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter?” Well, for those of you who are “giving up” something for Lent, listen up! There are 45 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter but since we are to celebrate what God has done in Jesus for us each Sabbath day, i.e. Sunday, we are released from our fast on that one day! There are five Sundays in Lent and as Jesus reminded his followers, “You do not fast while the Bridegroom is still with you.”
The purpose of fasting or giving something up for Lent is for a special purpose: With every hunger pain or longing we have for that which we gave up, we are given a reminder to pray and ask God for help and direction. Craving that chocolate? That is your cue to pray. Give up alcohol? Your longing is a reminder to pray. Lent is a wonderful time to reconnect to your spiritual practices in order to better prepare for Easter.
This week we are looking at Mark 1: 9-15. Take some time to read it before worship and reflect upon those on these items: First, how do you understand the idea and concept of ‘sin’? How do you feel when you hear the word ‘repent’? If you were left in the wilderness, what are the temptations you would struggle with? These are some of the things we will be looking at on Sunday as we continue our Lenten pilgrimage. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to invite someone in your circle of influence to experience the joy of First Pres worship. Who is God asking you to invite?
Remember who you are (you are a child of God!). Proclaim the Good News of Jesus wherever you go and be his loving hands and feet to the world! I am
Your pastor and friend,