April Message From Pastor Gary “Observing Lent”

spent a good part of a day working on the program for a Wednesday night Lenten service, the last program in the series, “Jesus’ Final Week”. It made me wonder if this might be the last year this church does joint Lenten services with the Congregational Church. The Lenten services might soon be going the way of the Men’s Easter Communion breakfast and the town-wide Good Friday Cross Walk. I miss them both. We always had a good turnout for the breakfast. I always sat with Harold and Chip Gill, and they never let me pay.

The purpose of observing Lent is for Christians to prepare for the coming of Easter. I love the winding down, the refocusing of our hearts on Christ, and the pausing to share in the journey which lies ahead of him.

I do understand that “the times, they are a-changin,’” but it’s funny to me that we churches seem to be letting go of all the extra outside programs which were designed to refocus our thoughts and lives back it the direction we should all be striving for, getting closer to God and repenting of our sin.
Good Friday brings the season of Lent to a close. I wonder if anyone else gave up something for Lent this year. Coffee, chocolate, and sweets, all are on the list of the usual things given up for Lent. Most people “choose not” to give up something for Lent, but for those of us who “choose to,” we give up something to remind ourselves of the suffering and pain that we know Jesus will experience in the weeks ahead. More importantly, it also reminds us of our dependence on God’s love and grace; that is what should compel us to live and to love, not coffee and chocolate.

Our main purpose of holding and sharing the Lenten Services, the Men’s Easter breakfast, and the Good Friday Cross Walk, and in giving up something for Lent is to bring us closer to God, to prioritize God, to put God back in the center of our minds and lives, as we journey forward with Christ. We make God the focal point in our church and our lives again. I hope many of you were able to do this in one way or another in your preparation to encounter the Risen Christ this Easter. Christ is risen! Alleluia! Amen!

In Christ, Pastor Gary

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