Greetings, Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

‘Tis the season. Not the season of celebration and indulgence that we just finished with Christmas, but just the opposite. It is the season of self-denial and sacrifice that we in the church call Lent. lent is a time when we can realize the distractions of life that can limit our relationship with God through Christ. During these 40 days (modeled by Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness after His baptism), we are able to repent of our sins and refocus our hearts on God through fasting, service, and prayer.

In recent years I have given up fast food, coffee and even dairy in an effort to use these times of self-denial, as well as the times of craving as a way to focus my heart on God. Each time I am tempted to eat out or reach for a cup of coffee I remember why I am fasting from these worldly pleasures and I find my spiritual life strengthened through this discipline.

This year I have wondered about what has become a wall around my heart that prevents God from getting in and shining through it. I realized that my vanity is such a wall, as I daily work to cover the flaws that I see to try and look the way I believe the world says I should look, instead of allowing myself to show the creation and image of God that I have been given. In this, I am taking a step of faith (in my mind) and I am giving up make-up for the 40 days of Lent to embrace the visage that God gave me without trying to hide it. Instead of the time in front of the mirror, I will spend it in prayer as I go through our 47 days of prayer that has been mailed in our Lenten letter. I will be fasting with the young people February 12-13 during their “30 Hour Famine” as well as giving up meat for the 40 days of Lent.

Have you considered how you can use fasting, service and/or prayer to draw out of this world and into a closer relationship with God this Lent? If you send me your Lenten discipline I will add you and your faithful commitment into my prayers for encouragement and renewal as we journey through this season as a community.

See you at Ash Wednesday worship, in our Lenten Bible Study, and in worship on Sundays and Wednesdays!

Blessings, Pastor Stacy