Just as we have seasons of the year, one could also say that we have seasons in our faith as well. Some come with guidelines, like we know that we have Advent before we celebrate Christmas. Presently, we are entering the season of Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday. This is a very important time on the calendar
because it was an extraordinary time in the life of Jesus; when he travels into the desert to fast and to pray and to prepare for his ministry, His trials and ultimately his crucifixion. In those 40 days He is tempted by Satan, but does not yield. He does not give up on his relationship with the Father and his sacrifices serve as a lesson for each and every one of us.

So, we are asked or have suggested to us to emulate some of His journey by making sacrifices as well; often times found in “giving up” something; like a favorite food, or candy, or too much TV or social media or vowing to attend church more. It is a nice thought but, in reality, it does not even approach the bigger picture. Why? Because we know that we can and probably will go back to eating our chocolate, skipping church, or spending even more times on our phones once Easter arrives.

Jesus did the opposite, He went out and recruited his disciples, started his ministry and literally challenged the prevailing thoughts of both the secular and religious world; and He did so knowing
where it would lead. He never gave up anything inconsequential and He never gave up enhancing his
relationship with God and with all God’s children.

So let us be vigilant as well. Let us not brag to others about what we are giving up for Lent, as if we are
competing in a contest. Let us instead not give up as well; enriching our relationship with each other and with Christ. If you want some lyrics to help you each day, verse 1 from Hymn 166 might be a good place to start. “Lord, who throughout these 40 days for us did fast and pray; teach us with you to mourn our sins and close by you to stay”.

Thanks be to God,
Milt Fredericks
Lay Pastor of Congregational Care