Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lent 2011

The word “remember” is an important word in life. It is important to remember our ancestral roots, the seasons of life, as well as remember our spiritual journey with God. Throughout the Scriptures, we are reminded of the acts of God and especially the life of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

At the heart of our spiritual journey is our participation in the life, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. We proclaim what John wrote in Ch. 1:14, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus was born into human history in the fullness of God’s time for our salvation. In the Gospels we read that Jesus lived, taught, suffered and was put to death. However that was not the end of the story. Paul says in Eph. 1:20,22-23, that God “…raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms …and God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything in the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fill everything in every way.” Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, people can be delivered from sin and death, and by the Holy Spirit be born into new life with God. This is Good News! This is heart of our worship and the life of the follower of Jesus.

One way to do this is by observing the church calendar and in particular the Season of Lent.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of this season. It is a day set aside that emphasizes a duality in life: (1) We are reminded of our own mortality and (2) We are sinners in need of forgive-ness. The ashes are a reminder that we came from dust and one day we will return to dust (Gen. 3:19), and were used by those who mourned or repented of their sins. Job 42:6 says, “There-fore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.” (NASB)

Lent is 46 days in length and is based on a lunar cycle. Resurrection Sunday is the first Sun-day after the full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox. Therefore Resurrection Sunday cannot be earlier than March 22nd or later than April 25th. During this season, follow-ers of Jesus are asked to pray, fast, and repent. Some people give up something they eat or drink to observe this season. One of the biblical models for this practice is found in the Gospels (Mt. 4, Mk. 1, and Lk. 4) where the Holy Spirit led Jesus after His baptism and He fasted for 40 days and nights. Although Lent is 46 days, the 6 Sundays in Lent are excluded as a day to fast because Sunday is noted as a “resurrection day”, a day of celebra-tion, when Jesus rose from the grave. People sometimes forget that the last day of the week (and the Sabbath) is Saturday, not Sunday. When Jesus rose from the grave, the Apostolic Fathers moved the celebration of worship from Saturday to Sunday.

The Covenant Hymnal and The Covenant Book of Worship describe the Lenten Season as the time when, “the church proclaims, remembers, and responds in gratitude and faith to Christ’s atoning death.” Lent can be a humbling yet enriching and growing time in one’s spiritual journey with God. It is a time when we can get our lives re-centered, our priorities straight and as David prayed in Psalm 51:10 to have God, “create in us a pure heart and renew steadfast spirit within us.

This Lenten Season create a new pace in your life. Cut the busyness that holds you back from knowing God better and take the time to renew your spirit and your time with Him. The result is that you will be richly blessed and your time with Him – priceless!

Walking with You,
Pastor Tom

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