Lent in the Fast Lane

So how's your Lent going?? We're halfway through the annual forty days of spiritual preparation leading up to Easter. Can you believe it? Good Friday is three weeks from today. I still feel like I am recovering from Christmas. Last Sunday we celebrated the Lord's Supper-- first Sunday of March. You may not know this, but our Book of Worship has two communion liturgies for Lent: one for early, and one for late. It was the third Sunday of Lent. The next first Sunday of the month is Apirl 1, Easter Sunday. So which one should I choose? I went with the early one, because even though we're halfway through Lent and we had an amazing Ash Wednesday service, it feels like we/I haven't really started. Maybe it's the Healthy Church Initiative process. We've been gearing up to this point for a year and a half... and now it's here-- the vote is a week from Sunday. I'm thankful for everyone who has brought us to this place, but honestly for me it seems like Lent has lost its focus.

That's my fault, not HCI's.

I am thankful for my small group, which meets in our home on Wednesdays. Kay Brewer has done a great job leading us, no surprise to anyone who has ever done a study with her. Not having to lead the study has been a great gift to me personally, but the study itself, Embracing the Uncertain, has been wonderful. Deeply personal and inviting, but also serious and soul-searching. Just check out the themes we've discussed:

Doubt
Forgiveness
Control/true security
Grief/fear of death (this Sunday)

And we have two more sessions to go. After Easter, we'll switch gears for a new small group study, The God We Can Know, exploring the I AM teachings of Jesus. That series begins the week of April 8. We'll also parallel the themes in worship and with children and youth studies. I hope this synergistic approach to study/teaching/worship has been helpful to you-- I've enjoyed it-- it hasn't felt like preaching is its own separate activity. While I'm thinking about worship, thanks to everyone who made a special effort to be ready at 11:00 this past week. Let's continue our focus this week!

"Are you ready for a great sermon today?" is a question I am asked almost every week. My usual response is, "We'll find out in about thirty minutes!" It's too late to ask "Are we ready for a great Lent?", and too early to ask "Are we ready for a great Easter?" Over the next three weeks, which will include the Spring Time change this weekend and a vote on the HCI prescriptions the following Sunday, let's try to slow our pace, focus on our relationship with Christ, and not get too far ahead. As Jesus says to the crowd when Lazarus is raised from the dead (this week's lesson): "Unbind him, and let him go" (John 11:44). May you step out, unbound and free, to explore a deeper and fuller relationship with Christ during the second half of this holy season.

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