Lent began on February 18 with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. Lent is the 40-day period (excluding Sundays) of preparation for Easter. Traditionally it is a time for self-examination and repentance (turning from sin and turning toward God). Many people “give something up” for Lent, sacrificing something that is important to them to help them focus on the sacrifice Jesus made in dying on the cross for everyone. Other people add elements to their devotional lives—additional personal prayer time, corporate worship, and/or service.

I encourage you to plan now to attend the special worship services during Holy Week: On Sunday, March 29 we will hold our annual Palm/Passion Sunday; on Maundy Thursday, April 2, at 7 p.m. we will celebrate the last supper; on Good Friday, April 3, at 7 p.m. we will take time to remember Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross on our behalf. On Good Friday, there will also be a prayer vigil during the day. There will be more information about these things in the April Hinge.

This year our theme for Lent is “This Love Changes Everything.” Sermons and Sunday school lessons will be focusing on this truth. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to add the spiritual discipline of journaling to your devotional time during this season. There are prayer journals in the Gathering Space for you to use. If you choose not to journal, pick up a copy of the daily devotional, The Nail, and add it to your daily prayer time. Be sure pick up a bookmark and nail also available in the Gathering Space.

Observing Lent by taking time to focus on God’s amazing love in Christ Jesus is vital to a truly joy-filled celebration of Easter. In Jesus Christ we know a love so great that he holds nothing back. Jesus Christ “who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8) It is only by Jesus’ sacrificial death that resurrection becomes possible.

I pray you will make a conscious effort to celebrate a Holy Lent, practicing the age old traditions of self-examination, confession, and repentance that ultimately leads to life in Christ now and forever.

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Anne

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