A Word from Our Pastor 2014 March: Lent

The first Sunday in Lent is March 9. Traditionally, during Lent we offer a special study group. While we are making our discussion/study/fellowship “Faith Clinics” a regular activity, (not just something for the few weeks of Lent), we have chosen a topic that will be appropriate for the season (more about this below).

Lent can seem like a downer. . .after all, in many parts of the world, Lent is kicked-off by a great big party (Mardi Gras), because people expect that the season of Lent will be one of sacrifice and reflection upon one’s sins in preparation for Holy Week and Easter. So, traditionally, people have sacrificed things like refraining from meat on Fridays, or giving up something they like – like chocolate or tv. . .

These are good things to try; any intentional practice will help us when we set aside time and effort to grow closer to God – especially when it is concrete and meaningful, such as fasting or committing to regular prayer. Trying one of these disciplines also helps us see how much our lives are filled with things that get in the way of paying attention to our faith. If we can’t manage it for the 40 days of Lent – how can we hope to make time when there isn’t a special season set aside? Taking on a spiritual discipline for Lent teaches us a lot about what our lives are like the rest of the year.

So, we are asking you to participate in one small activity during Lent: praying for one another, the church and the world. It will work like this: during the worship service on March 9, you will be requested to fill out a prayer card with three prayer items: 1) a prayer request for you or your family (this can be worded so that it is anonymous); 2) a prayer request for one of the ministries of the church; and 3) a prayer request for your community, or farther afield in the world. The cards will be collected. Then, you will be invited to choose a card (not your own), and take it home and pray about it during the week. We will also offer some guidance in how to pray, if that would be of help to you. After a couple of weeks, you will be invited to take a new card. Since people will be coming in a different times during Lent, every Sunday we will offer the opportunity to fill out a card or take a card. Please be assured that if you would like your requests to be anonymous, your confidentiality will be maintained. We hope that this activity will strengthen the bonds between church members and deepen our prayer lives.
Also, during Lent, we hope you will participate in the Lenten “Faith Clinic” series. Newcomers are more than welcome. Each series of faith discussions is a new beginning — no previous experience required! Bring your questions, concerns and whatever is on your heart to the “Faith Clinic.”

Lent is a time of preparation for the major events of our faith that take place before, during and after Easter. This year, we will be exploring how we might understand one of the deepest issues of our faith: suffering. We will be studying a short book, “Why? Making Sense of God’s Will” by Adam Hamilton. It’s easy to read, and has very down-to-earth explanations of the kinds of questions that many Christians (and others) have. Here are the topics – we meet Sundays at 9:30 a.m. or Wednesdays at 6pm.
March 9 & March 12: Why do the Innocent Suffer?
March 16 & March 19: Why do my prayers go answered?”
March 23 & March 26: Why Can’t I see God’s will for my life?
March 30 & April 2: Why God’s Love Prevails.

I’m sure just about everyone has wrestled with one or more of these questions. Come and talk about them together! We hope to see you there.

With special prayer and discussion/study and fellowship, I am confident that your Lenten season will be a blessing to you and to our church! Whatever effort you make to grow closer to God and one another, will return to you.