Pastor's Paragraph for February 18, 2018

FEBRUARY 16, 2018

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Welcome to the season of the Christian Year known as Lent! The word “Lent” does not appear in scripture—or at least not in the sense of a season of Lent as we practice it today. Lent actually comes from the Old English word that means “lengthen.” Lent is that season of the year when the days are getting longer or “lengthening.” Lent is made up of the forty days before Easter—not counting Sundays—beginning on Ash Wednesday and stretching all the way through Easter Saturday! (Sundays were never a part of Lent because the early Church considered all Sundays to be a “little Easter.” Since Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday, this first day of the week has always been a day for joy, celebration, and feasting—never fasting!) The Church of Jesus Christ has always used Lent as a time of spiritual preparation, just as God prepared Jesus for his earthly ministry during his 40 days of fasting in the wilderness. In the early days of the Christian movement, new converts were taught the precepts of the Christian faith throughout the six weeks of Lent, and then on Easter Sunday morning were taken down into the pool of water for baptism, after which they were dressed in new, white clothes as a symbol of their new life in Jesus Christ. They were then led up the eastern stairs out of the baptismal pool just as the sun was rising, as a sign that they were being raised to newness of life in Jesus Christ. Today in the Christian Church throughout the world the season of Lent is still used as a time of spiritual preparation, in which Christ’s followers seek to draw nearer to God’s presence and better understand God’s purpose for their lives—often through prayer and fasting! May your Lenten journey be filled with a deepening of your walk with Christ our Lord and also with a growing understanding of how God is calling you to use your God given gifts, talents, and abilities in the service of our Lord!

—Pastor Tom