Lenten Letter from Pastor Rich

Dear Mt. Pleasant Family:

May I never lose the wonder, the wonder of the Cross.
May I see it like the first time standing as a sinner lost,
Undone by mercy and left speechless, watching wide eyed at the cost.
May I never lose the wonder, the wonder of the Cross.

These words from The Wonder of the Cross by Vicky Beeching, are a great reminder of one of the reasons for the season of Lent: over a period of 40 days, starting on Ash Wednesday, we undertake a spiritual journey deep into ourselves but with our eyes focused on the Cross, and hopefully rediscover —- or perhaps even discover for the first time — the glory and the victory which are ours because of what Jesus did for us. It is a time of renewal when we can commit to laying our whole lives down for Him again. Hopefully, that is what Lent, 2018, will be for all of us.

Lent is the span of time in the church calendar that starts with Ash Wednesday on February 14 (this year), and ends on Easter. Ash Wednesday commemorates the beginning of Jesus’ 40-day fasting and temptation in the desert, and Easter Sunday commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the grave after His crucifixion. So Lent is considered as a time for us to reflect, repent, and pray as a way of preparing our hearts for Easter. As Methodists we observe Lent, though not every Christian denomination does; after all, Lent isn’t officially instituted in Scripture. However, it is an opportunity for us to focus our thoughts on Jesus Christ during the Easter season.
How we observe Lent differs from person to person and church to church, but some of the things we can do include:

On the first day of Lent (Ash Wednesday is February 14, and our service will be at 7:00), and some of us will mark our foreheads with ash as a symbol of sorrow and mourning over our sin. The first few verses of Job 42 are an example of ashes used as a symbol of repentance. Some of us choose to give up a habit or behavior during Lent as an exercise in prayerful self-denial. This might range from something as simple as not drinking our favorite cold or hot beverage during Lent to an all-out program of fasting. We can also commit to a special devotional activity during Lent—for example, daily Scripture reading, regular prayer for a specific person or topic throughout Lent, or volunteer work in their community.  The choice to observe Lent is a personal one—the whole point is to focus your heart and mind on Jesus during the journey to Easter. There’s no requirement to observe it, but it is spiritually rewarding. Methodists (and other Christians) around the glove do observe Lent each year; if you’ve never done so, I’d invite you to give it a try in 2018. Whether you observe Lent in a small or major way, you’ll be amazed at what happens when you devote a part of each day to reflecting on Jesus Christ and God’s Word.

The Wonder of the Cross, mentioned above, begins with the following verse:

O precious sight, my Savior stands, dying for me with outstretched hands.
O precious sight, I love to gaze, remembering salvation’s day.
Though my eyes linger on this scene, may passing time and years not steal
The power with which it impacts me, the freshness of its mystery.

I pray that our Lenten season of 2018 will be one of spiritual wonder, spiritual meditation and spiritual gathering as we remember and worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Pastor Rich

Comments are closed