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From the Desk of the Interim Senior Pastor

From the Desk of the Interim Senior Pastor

February 2024

I hope that all of you had a safe, inspirational, and enjoyable holiday season. It may be hard to believe but with Easter coming early this year (March 31st) we are already preparing for Lent.

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 14 this year. This liturgical season lasts for forty days (excluding Sundays which are always feast days celebrating the resurrection.) the word Lent originally meant “spring” and is to be understood as a time to reflect on baptism and its basis in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Lent is a time of rebirth and renewal in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection. the liturgical color for Lent is purple, which suggests somberness and solemnity. During Lent special emphasis is placed on spiritual cleansing, penitence, humility, self-examination, meditation on the wonder and mystery of God’s amazing love and grace, and a deepening of the devotional life of the mind and heart.

The word “spirituality” is oftentimes uttered during this liturgical season. This term’s modern use includes piety, the devout life, and an interior life of prayer; and yet it means even more than all this. As the 20th century Roman Catholic theologian and cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar put it; “it means the way a person understands his/her own ethically and religiously committed existence, and the way sh/he reacts habitually to this understanding.” During Lent, then, there is a stress on examining the spiritual life, getting better in touch with ones’ spirituality through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and living the life our Lord calls for Christians to live.

Praying, fasting, and charitable giving, the disciplines of Lent, are stresses and practiced by many during the forty days. Other practices including meditating and reading and studying the scriptures. Regarding the latter, I refer you to the Book of Psalms, as the Psalms are hymns rich in meditative value.

The psalmists get right down in the trenches of life and express common yearnings, questions, and responses of humanity. As we read them, we may find ourselves identifying with the psalmists emotionally and spiritually. Psalms, in a sense, are laughs and cries to God. I encourage you to read Psalms during Lent. Include this as part of your spiritual discipline. You just might feel inspired and connected to the psalmists in their songs to God. God will richly bless you in your spiritual journey through life as you read and study the Book of Psalms. “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.: (Ps. 25:1)