Lent is here. 40 days in the wilderness. 40 days leading up to Holy Week. The week of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. Our Ash Wednesday service was beautiful, somber, and the dose of reality and good news we need to begin again the 40 days. Going way back, Lent was a season in the church that was used to prepare people to become Christians and be baptized on the eve of Easter. Once Christianity had become the predominant religion, Lent evolved into a time of remembering one’s Baptism and working to root out that which keeps us from following Jesus and loving our neighbor. This latter focus remains today. “Its all good” we sometimes hear people say today. When it comes to Lenten disciples, whether it be adding something or subtracting something, I say, “Its all good.” Do what you need. For me this year, I will be disciplining myself to add more prayer time. When I was in Ethiopia, we often would pray for 30-45 minutes before we would start a meeting! I’m not going that far, but prayer is going to be my add. My want to be in prayer more was also energized last weekend by our Lay School speaker, Dr. Mary Jane Haemig. I’m still wrestling with her point, made by Martin Luther, that our will and wants matter to God and that we should feel free to plead for our will (assuming of course our motive is to do God’s will) just like Abraham and Lot did in Genesis. Our prayers can even have an affect on God! Wow. I can say this teaching has made my prayer life more of a conversation for sure. I will spend much more time in these forty days praying for SLC too. I’ll be praying that we can break the barrier and bring Christ Jesus to more people. Hope you will join me daily in that prayer.
We have also added a prayer wall to our sanctuary. Just like people put little slips of paper in the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, you will have the opportunity to place prayers in our wall. On Ash Wednesday we let the bricks of the wall symbolize our sin and how our sin puts up a barrier between us, God, and our neighbor but the wall will now also be a home for our prayers and a symbol of our hopes and dreams for God’s kingdom to come among us. Finally, at Holy Week and Easter, there may be a surprise in those bricks.
God bless you in your Lenten journey. I pray Lent will indeed be true to its name springing forth new depth and grace in our lives.