Posted on Feb 15, 2018 by Pastor Dave Whetter
The season of Lent has officially begun. While much of the country celebrated Valentine’s Day this past Wednesday, in the church, we also celebrated Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. I know, Valentine’s Day seems like more fun, but the truth is, Valentine’s Day, a day all about love, is a great day to also celebrate Ash Wednesday.
On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of our own mortality, “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” Yet, we know that ashes and dust will not be the end of our story. The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, but it ends with Easter. It begins with ashes, but it ends with the Resurrection and the promise of eternal life. It begins with us confessing our sins, and it ends with God proclaiming God’s eternal love for us as Jesus willingly died on the cross for us so that we might have eternal life. Now, that is a love story!
As part of this great love story, during the season of Lent, we will be challenged to see that God desires that we find ways to be in closer relationship with Him. It is a season of repentance, which means as we journey through these 40 days we are challenged to find those things in our lives that turn us away from God and God’s ways and repent. We are called to turn back to God and his ways. Many people think of Lent as a sad time, but personally, I like this season and I find it to be very life-giving.
It is during the season of Lent that I often rediscover my love for the church and all that the church was created to be. During Lent, I rediscover the joy of giving to the poor (almsgiving), prayer and fasting, spiritual practices that we are reminded to practice more often during Lent. During Lent, I find myself focusing once again on the needs of the world. I find myself asking how can I make a difference in this world for those who need help. After all, as William Temple, the Archbishop of Canterbury in mid-20th century England, once said, “The church is the only organization on earth that exists for those who are not its members.”
As we come into the season of Lent, I pray that each of you rediscovers the incredible love story that our God has entered into with us. I pray we each find our own ways to repent. I pray each of us finds a way to turn back to God and God’s ways so that God’s church, that is, you and me, might once again focus on finding ways to challenge the status quo that oppresses the many for the sake of a few so that we might, too, partake in God’s great love story.