What is Lent
Delivered By
Pastor David
Delivered On
February 1, 2016
Subject
What is Lent
Description

 

Two Major Topics for February – Love and Lent

L-O-V-E…four letters that tell a lot about our lives. We love pizza and pancakes. We love the Tigers or the Gamecocks (or other teams) and we love shopping. We love movies, books, games, quilting, sewing, cooking, and baking. We may even love running or cutting the grass (though I personally have no clue as to how these last two can be the object of affection!). And, of course, we love our family, our friends, our kids, our parents, our God, and those who love us in return. All of these things are epitomized in this short word, love. One expression of it, the romantic form of love, is celebrated above all others this month.

As we enter a month where we will probably see and hear the word "love" even more than the already overused vocabulary of love the rest of the year, it is perhaps helpful to revisit the Christian understanding of love. After all, as the author of 1 John 4:16 tells us, "God is love," and the love of God for humanity is the driving force for much of God’s action in the world, especially in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is a love that inspires a loving response from us, and this loving response has a particular set of distinctive characteristics. Paul shares the most definitive (though hardly the only) description of this sort of love in 1 Corinthians 13:

"Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, The Message)

This is the love at the heart of God’s being. This is the love that Christ exhibited. And through the power of the Holy Spirit, it is the love we, as Christ’s followers, are called to show to one another and to the world. This Valentine’s Day, and throughout this month of celebrating love, let’s strive for the standard of love that Paul describes – the love of God. In Christ, Pastor David.

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What is Lent? The English word "Lent" stems from the Anglo-Saxon word for "spring," and is also related to the English word "lengthen," referring to the penitential period preceding Easter. Early Christians felt that the magnitude of the Easter celebration called for special preparation. As early as the second century, many Christians observed special days of fasting as part of that preparation. Over the next few centuries, perhaps in remembrance of Jesus’ fasting for forty days in the wilderness (Matt.4:1-2), forty days became the acceptable length of the Lenten Season. Since, from the earliest years of Christianity, it has been considered inappropriate to fast on the day of resurrection, so Sundays were not counted in the forty days. The Wednesday, 46 days before Easter, became known as the beginning of Lent.

This year Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 10th. Ash Wednesday, developed as a day of penitence, marks the beginning of the forty days in preparation for the joy of Easter. This was also a new beginning time for renewing our faith.

On this day, we recall our mortality and wait upon the Lord for a renewing Spirit. It is a time for putting aside the sins and failures of the past in light of who we are yet to become, by the grace of God. Our worship services and experiences during this time are a part of a larger environment of repentance and growth in grace. We are to be tested by the Spirit so that our participation in the meaning of the Easter faith may be authentic and a true, dying and rising with Christ to new life in God.

Come and see how you can be a part of making disciples of Jesus Christ this Lent. Beginning Wednesday, Feb. 10th, we have our Community Lenten Worship Services followed by a meal in the Fellowship Hall. Each week a pastor from the community will bring the noon message and a member of their church will share in the special music. We truly look forward to this special time.

Lent is a time to refresh us and sustain us so we may give expression to church commitments through the Easter Season. I pray that this Easter will overflow into our mission to always be in God’s will in the world. Blessings…Pastor David.

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