This week’s CliffNotes is written by Brian Murphy, Executive Pastor.
Dear Christ Church,
A few of us church staffers were standing around the coffee maker and discussing Lent today, and the question was asked, “Is it appropriate to be excited about Lent?” After some great conversation we concluded that, yes, it is appropriate to be excited about Lent.
One, by fasting during Lent we create much needed space in our lives. We give up things that demand our attention, and we take on things that help us engage with Jesus. Through prayer, fasting, contemplation, and service we are drawn closer to Christ and the Gospel work of restoring all things.
Two, the season of Lent affords us the opportunity to join Jesus in his suffering. If we were honest, we would probably say that we avoid suffering. We may even say that we avoid suffering at any cost. This is understandable. After all, suffering hurts. However, only by properly engaging with Christ in his suffering will we fully recognize and share in his glory. (1 Peter 4:13)
Three, extended fasting makes extended feasting that much sweeter. I am often reminded that Lent lasts for forty days, but Eastertide lasts for fifty. When we engage with Lent the anticipation of Easter builds. When we engage with Jesus’ death we are in a better place to bask in his resurrection.
This year Christ Church will be engaging the book 40 Days of Decrease, by Alicia Britt Chole. This a daily devotional tool will help us all engage deeply (Dare I say “celebrate”?) Lent. You can pick up a copy at thegreeters table this Sunday. There will be a place to leave a cash donation for the book if you are able.
In addition, please join us for one of our Ash Wednesday services next week (see details below). Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent. We will gather together to share in the Eucharist and to be reminded that “from dust we came and to dust we shall return.”
PS Celebration Sunday is on February, 14. This is the day when we bring our annual financial pledges, which help with the ministry and mission of Christ Church. Would you take a few minutes to pray and ask God how he wants you to respond in giving to his Kingdom work at Christ Church, and if you missed last week’s sermon about generosity, take a few minutes to listen to it here.