Lent a Time of Preparation

Just as we set aside time to prepare our hearts for Christmas and the coming of Christ child into the world, we need to set time aside to prepare for Good Friday and Easter.   Lent is a time for us to prepare our hearts for what God is doing in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Lent is a time for us to reflect on the ways we fall short of what God is calling us to be, the ways we fail to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength, and our neighbors as ourselves.  Like Advent, Lent is a time to open the doors of our hearts a little wider and come to understand our Lord more fully.   When we come to the events of Holy Week it’s not just another time to be in church but an opportunity to receive and rejoice in the overflowing of God’s grace, forgiveness, and new life. Unlike the childlike joy associated with the season of Advent, with its joyful anticipation of the coming of the Christ child, the wonder of angels singing, shepherds coming to the manger, and wise men bringing gifts; Lent is an intensely penitential time.  It is a time for us to examine our sinful natures and repent of the ways we time and again ignore God’s will for us. Lent is a time to reflect on what our Lord did for us in the agony of the cross and separation from his Father.  It is also a time to look forward to the hope that is ours in Christ when we will be raised with him and “every tear will be dried”. It is as we look in our minds eye; look into the eyes of Christ on the cross and see the pain there that we grow in our understanding of what Christ has done for us in dying on the cross and the greatness of that gift.  It is as we look into his eyes that we come to understand that God is not some nebulous energy source or a grandfather sitting in the clouds.  God is our creator who loves deeply and has given his only Son that in his sacrifice our sins might be wiped away and we can live in relationship with him growing into what we are intended to be.  It is Christ’s life, death, and resurrection that give us the forgiveness and hope we need to live as God’s people. This year our Wednesday night Lenten Services will focus on dialogues between God and various disciples.   Throughout the Old and New Testament, we hear passages about the “voice of God” speaking to people.  In our series of Lenten dramas, the voice of God will consistently speak the message of God, word of forgiveness, compassion, and eternity to those people near the cross.  As we listen to these words, we will hear God speaking to us through them and drawing us deeper into all that Christ has done for us. Each of the dramas catches one of the disciples at a particular moment in the events of the crucifixion and invites us to listen to what God says at that particular moment to that person.  I look forward to hearing the voice of God and being drawn deeper into all that Christ has done for us as we hear and respond in our own hearts. The worship services will begin with finger food served in the narthex and we will move to worship at 6:30 into the sanctuary. Come and listen to the struggles of the disciples and the way God responds.  As you do, you will be blessed. In Christ’ Service Retired Pastor Rev. Harry Brown