Week 1 Lenten Thoughts for PMC

Dear Church Friends,
This past week and yesterday in worship, together we ushered in a new season in our church calender, Lent. Lent is a time of longing, anticipation, and expectation as we reflect on what we have done, or left undone, in the past year. Additionally, it is a time to put aside something of significance, to make room for the joyful hope that we expect will come on Easter through the resurrection.

So, just as the children in primary worship yesterday buried the word, "hallelujah," I invite you to metaphorically join in the burial ceremony. As we surrender this word, this proclamation and celebration, let us make way in the silence that follows in our hearts and in our worship for contemplation. Ash Wednesday reminded us that we are all dust and to dust we will return. This can seem a harsh reality. Yet, last Wednesday, the ashes were not marked on us in a smeary abstract image, but in the shape of a cross. It is a symbol that reminds us that even though we will all one day die, in the meantime we are to live in Christ, whose death transforms our own demise! Therefore, we need not fear the burial of "hallelujah," but instead we can embrace it with eagerness as we wait in faithfulness for the opportunity to shout it again.

Accordingly, during worship yesterday we learned that our true salvation, as a world, as a nation, as a people and especially as a church, comes not by way of our newly elected President or by any other worldly, empire means, but through the power of Jesus. Amen?! Yet, what a challenge this lays before us. The challenge to live with faith and trust in a Messiah who leads us into the wilderness. Yet, when we realize that God has already provided for our journey, we are then able to take the initiative to recognize God's action and follow Christ more fully. Jesus is on the move! --in a myriad of ways. Let us together, as a church, this Lenten season learn to better trust these movements so that we can join in and experience the joy of life in the kingdom of God.

Psalm 25
Mark 1:9-15

Questions for Reflection:
What tempts us? When are we in the wilderness?
How do we want to control our own destiny?

Faithful God, trusting in you,
we begin
the forty days of conversion and penance.
Give us strength for Christian discipline,
that we may renounce evil
and be decisive in doing good.

May integrity and uprightness preserve us,
for we wait for you.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, Amen.

Blessings to you this week,

P.S. Henri Nouwen offers a great resource, "Show Me the Way: Readings for Each Day of Lent." I borrowed part of the prayer from him. The latter part is from Psalm 25.

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