The season of Lent arrives in 2019 a bit later than normal. February has seemed rather strange without Ash Wednesday. But fear not, Lent is coming. This important season of the church year was not forgotten. But is it really all that important? For some, it’s that time of the year to playfully give something up, like chocolate or soft drinks. For others, it’s that time of the year to take on something new. Traditionally, we hear intimidating words like repentance, fasting, and sacrifice. For many, it’s a season filled with excessive guilt and self-reflection. In some congregations, they bury the “Alleluia” which enhances an already gloomy, dark, and somber time. Lent means “spring” and early Christians used this time in preparation for Baptism. In other words, Lent is a great time for renewal and the reinvigorating of our spirit. So not only is Lent coming – Lent is becoming.
This year at Salem our Wednesday evening Lenten Worship will be in the Imagine Center. We will worship using Holden Evening Prayer. During this time we will also be taking a fresh look on the meaning of baptism: why we do it, when we do it, where we do it, and how we do it. Specifically, we will be looking at the Service of Holy Baptism found in our hymnal and rediscovering some of the ancient ritual associated with baptism that we have been using for centuries.
This year, as we journey together for these 40 days, we will once again hear words like repentance, fasting, and sacrifice. Worship on Sunday mornings might suddenly feel a little different. But hopefully, we will also sense a renewal of our spirits as we look to the one who dies and rises for us. We may give something up. We may take on something new. But my prayer is that we learn to treasure our baptism, that holy gift from God to us, claiming us eternally and leading us into lives of discipleship. Lent is an exciting time; it’s a time to remember just how dependent we are on Jesus. That’s why I can never bury my alleluia. I may not sing it during a hymn, but it’s always right there in the depths of my soul, just waiting to burst out. On December 27th 1964 I was told that from now on, I belong to God. I believe that, I treasure that, and I pray that I continue becoming the child of God I was created to be.
Peace & Alleluia,