Greetings from the good folks at the Red Roof Church of Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder the senior pastor of St. Paul coming to you with another Blog. We would like to invite you to stop by and worship with us this Sunday at either 8:30 AM or 10:45 AM. If you can’t make it this week, then check out our celebrations at our web site at www.redroofchurch.org. The services are loaded up by 2:00 PM for you to watch.
This coming Wednesday, February 26th, is the first day of the Lenten season. It’s surprising how many in the Christian church are unaware of the different seasons that make up the church year. Oh, they know about Christmas and Easter, but the rest of the year can go by unnoticed. It’s too bad because for the liturgical churches, like Lutheran and Roman Catholic, to name a few, there is a greater appreciation for the big two.
The 40 days of Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday, gets us ready for the celebration of Easter giving a fullness it would otherwise lack. During that time, we make a journey of self-examination which culminates at the foot of the cross on Good Friday. If we fail to make that journey and just skip to the joy of Easter Sunday we miss what our Lord did for us and the terrible price He paid to free us from sin. Lent is a season where we are invited in our worship via lessons and music to take a good, hard, honest look at ourselves. It becomes a time of penitential preparation through public worship and personal reflection.
In our examining of our relationship with God we painfully realize how we have sinned against Him and against our neighbors. When we realize we can’t save ourselves, we recognize our need for the forgiveness God makes real in Christ, we repent. To repent is to change our lives to conform to God’s will as we seek to live as Christ, humble, obedient, and compassionate.
One of the traditions connected to Ash Wednesday as Lent starts is the imposition of the ashes. For those unfamiliar with the practice, the sign of the cross is marked on the forehead of the believer with ashes made from the palm leaves from Palm Sunday. This is the day Jesus made His triumphant entrance into the city of Jerusalem just days before He goes to the cross. As the ashes are applied, the pastor or priest says, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.”
It reminds us that the God who made us did so from the dust of the earth. He is also the One who can take us out should He so choose. He reigns supreme and when we engage in sin and disobedience we separate ourselves from Him. If not for the saving action of Jesus Christ on the cross, we would be hopelessly lost. However, because of His ultimate sacrifice, Jesus paid the price of our sinfulness.
Yet, even in the serious and solemn time of Lent, there are reminders of hope and joy. In the 40 days that make up Lent, if you count the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter the numbers don’t jive. There’s a reason, a real important one. Even in Lent’s solemn tone, Sundays are reflections of Easter’s resurrection life. Call them mini-Easters if you want. They are not a part of the 40 day countdown.
As Ash Wednesday draws closer, I hope you will give some serious consideration to spending some quality time with our Lord. Ask Him to help open your heart to see the need for change, to stop living from day to day to satisfy a world adrift in darkness and turn towards the light of life and liberty in God’s family through Christ our Savior. Lent just might be a great starting point for you.
And those are my thoughts. God bless & welcome aboard.
Pastor Lee R. Harder