Categories: Church, Community, Home, News and Events, Pastor's Musings

From Pastor Diane

Lent begins on Valentine’s Day this year. More than one person has noticed it, and has thought it was odd.
The day of hearts and expressions of love is also “Ash Wednesday”; the day that we remember our mortality and frailty, and begin the 40 day journey to Easter.

Christians have marked and celebrated Jesus’ resurrection from the beginning. It wasn’t until the 4th century that Christmas appeared on our church calendars, but Christians have always gathered to celebrate Easter.  Lent is the oldest of the church seasons. New Christians would use the season of Lent to prepare for their Baptism on Easter — to acknowledge that in baptism, they would die with Christ and be resurrected with him as well. The season of Lent is 40 days because it was for 40 days that Jesus journeyed to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, and it was 40 years that the people of Israel
wandered in the wilderness before they entered they crossed the Jordan and entered the promised land. We take 40 days to remember who God is, who we are, to turn from sin and rebellion, and to again place our trust and hope in God.

So Lent is a season of prayer, studying, strengthening our faith. It begins with a day called “Ash Wednesday.”  On Ash Wednesday many Christians receive ashes on their foreheads, and they hear the words,”Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” These are words that God spoke to Adam and Eve in the garden, after they
disobeyed. They are words that call to mind that we are not God, that we are mortal, and that we were made from the dust, and that we will return to dust. They are words of judgment, but they are words of hope too, because the God who created us in the first place also promises to give us new life, in Christ.

The ashes also represent repentance. The Old Testament prophets often called people to turn from their sin, and to turn to God, putting on sackcloth and ashes. So on Ash Wednesday we wear repentance, proclaiming our brokenness. We turn away from our sin, but we turn to
God, who is merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.

There is something sobering about hearing the words, “Remember that you are dust.” But there is something comforting about it too. Because we are not God, but we are in God’s hands. And we are in God’s heart.

I invite you to come to worship on Ash Wednesday at Noon and at 7:00. Receive the ashes if you would like. Receive Holy Communion.  Begin your journey to the cross.

Pastor Diane