OUR LENTEN JOURNEY
It’s Ash Wednesday, won’t you be my valentine?
You can’t spell Valentine’s without LENT!
Oh! So many bad Pastor jokes will be made today. (Show up tonight for worship and you may hear a few).The last time these two observances coincided on the same day was 1945. It’s been a while.
Today, we may be torn between these two seemingly opposed traditions. One celebrates love, the other a reminder of mortality. But while you may, or may not, be a Valentine’s Day type of person, I do hope that as we begin the journey of Lent, you might take some time to consider how you might approach this season.
In the early days of the church, Lent developed as a season of teaching and instruction leading up to the Easter celebration. At Easter Vigil, the Saturday of Easter weekend, new members were welcomed into the church after an intense season of preparation which included time in prayer, fasting, repentance, and other spiritual endeavors.
Out of this tradition the season of Lent took shape – a 40 day period of self-examination, introspection, and heightened awareness of our own need for God’s salvation. It can also be viewed as a season of learning, study, and preparation for all that we observe during Holy Week.
Historically, Christians have chosen to adopt spiritual practices meant to remind them of the season, such as fasting, prayer, or study of God’s word. Today, some people choose to give up other things such as, perhaps, social media, sweets, or some other unhealthy habit. Another approach, embraced by some, is to view Lent as an opportunity not to give up, but instead to do more as an expression of Christian faith, such as serving at a food bank, collecting items for those in need, or finding ways to bless their neighborhood.
You may choose to adopt one of these practices this season, to give up, or commit more. Whatever your approach though, it would do us well to see Lent as more than just a hodgepodge of ritual and tradition. It remains one of the most powerful seasons of the church year for understanding God’s plan of salvation. During Lent we repent of sin, regularly recognizing our need for a savior. Then, as we enter into Holy Week, we see all that Jesus has done, as teacher, Lord, and sacrificial lamb willing to give his own life for his people. Finally, on the glorious morning of Easter, we celebrate the victory over death that is the resurrection, Jesus’ greatest work.
As we enter the season of Lent I pray that you may find a deeper awareness of God’s presence, and a more profound understanding of the grace and LOVE we find in Jesus. (Hey, maybe there is a Valentine’s connection after all.)
If you are looking for a good daily devotion I recommend this one, created by Concordia University, Irvine:
~Pastor Mike Middaugh
The season of Lent begins today, February 14th with the observance of Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday worship will be held at Calvary at 7:30pm with the imposition of ashes. A community meal will be served at 6:30pm. Midweek Lenten services will be held through the season of Lent at 7:30pm in the Calvary chapel. Our Theme this year will be “A Journey through Easter Vigil: How an ancient, holy service teaches the whole story of Salvation.”
A Funeral Service for Miriam Dydak will be held at Calvary at 11:00am on Monday, February 19th. There will be a viewing for the hour preceding the service. A repast will follow the service.
At last Sunday’s Special Voters Assembly Calvary Members voted to approve a goal of $750,000 for the Capital Campaign. This goal is lofty, but by God’s grace, achievable. It will take all of us to get there!
The readings are: Genesis 9:8-17; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:9-15.