Entering my office, I went right to the calendar hanging on my wall and gave February a good tug and tossed it into the same recycling bin that received January 27 days ago. Calendars are an important way of marking the passing of time. The liturgical calendar is a way the church has marked time for hundreds of years. This Sunday, the church sets aside time to follow Jesus, Peter, James and John to the mountaintop where Jesus will be changed before their eyes, surrounded in a cloud of glory, marking for us the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten Season.
Lent as a Time of Rest and Renewal
The season of Lent is a time of renewal in spiritual disciplines, and often our worship takes on the character of being somber, the music often filled with slow tempo, minor keys that to some sound like dirges. This year, worship planners noted that there is plenty of doom and gloom surrounding us in everyday living, so we planned for worship to be like an oasis in dry, desert times. As people of Hope, we are planning for worship to be meditative, refreshing, deeply engaging, and steeped in opportunities for resting in the presence of God and receiving life-giving water for our souls. This will take some real effort on our part, and some may miss the traditional ways of worshiping during Lent, but I feel certain we can and will grow in spirit and in being the body of Christ at worship with time for preparation during the week, and an openness of spirit as we gather in worship each Sunday and in our various activities throughout the season of Lent, leading us to the glorious celebration of Resurrection on Easter Sunday in April.
Take Something up this Lent
Throughout the season of Lent, I ask that everyone participate in some spiritual growth exercise. Some find it helpful to “give up something” for Lent. I invite you to “TAKE UP SOMETHING” during Lent. By this, I mean pick one activity that feeds your soul and lifts your spirit. Think of it as dedicating yourself to once each day to be intentional, to act simply, to step out of the usual. Here are some things you can do:
Of course, this list is endless, so choose something that gives you pause and in doing so moves your focus away from the routine and focuses upon the joy of the Lord, which is our strength. The point is to take time during the 40 days of Lent to spend a few moments dedicated to feeding your spirit and nurturing your soul, which is another way of saying spending time with God. As we take a few moments out of our routine, I believe it puts us in touch with God, and feeds our spirits, and renews our souls. Lenten discipline doesn’t have to be solemn, dirge-like drudgery, but opens us to moments of rest and renewal.
Bless you BIG TIME as you remember to BE the church!
Pastor Chuck Goodman has been pastor at Hope for nearly ten years. He writes each week about what's on his mind, giving readers something to meditate on until and beyond Sunday.