A big thanks to Dennis and Betsy Evans for the work they have done coordinating this challenging project. They’ve done a great job organizing and getting the word out. It will take a little while to put everything else together. With any luck we should have our directories by…. I’m gonna say, not long after the snow is gone. That’s not too much of a stretch, this year considering we’ll be lucky to have this snow gone by Vacation Bible School, which is in June. (We are shooting for a lot sooner than that.)
It took a little longer than some for Katie and I to have our portrait taken because, as the photographer told me, “ You are one of the more challenging blinkers I’ve had in months.” I usually warn the photographer. Most of them are like the guy this week; they see me as a challenge to a routine, an extra layer of difficulty that inspires them.
I admire people like the Dennis and Betsy and the photographer for whom a challenge is something that inspires them. I’ve been around enough of these folks to glean that what makes a challenge so inspiring to them is the possibilities they see. Others of us who shy away or blink at the fist sign of some barrier or difficulty take a little longer to open our eyes and see what could happen.
Next week begins a season in the church year we call Lent. Lent is the 40 days excluding Sunday’s before Easter that begins this Wednesday. We give this Wednesday a special name in the church and call it Ash Wednesday because if you come to church for the service at 6:45, which is just after the first Soup Supper that starts at 5:45, I’ll put Ashes on your forehead. This is a sign of our mortality. We say, “from dust you have come and to dust you shall return, repent and believe in the gospel.” and then I smear something that is suppose to look like a cross on your forehead. Now doesn’t that sound like fun?
Lent includes an emphasis on prayer and fasting and recognizing the challenges in our relationship with God. This year our theme comes from a book entitled, “A World Worth Saving: Lenten Spiritual Practices for Action,” by George Donigian. Donnigian invites us to give up apathy. He encourages us to recognize that our efforts, no matter how small they may seem do make a difference. The challenge is to do this by, “setting aside all your non-caring attitudes and move closer to the caring love of God.”
I am going to offer a study of this book on Tuesdays evenings beginning March 11th at 6:30. We will explore the themes for Worship for the coming Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. Our study will have a little homework. You’ll be asked to identify and do something about current events that come into you attention during the week. That “doing” begins with a most difficult challenge which is recognizing that as the author says, “We cannot give up apathy the way my friend gives up liver for Lent. We must move from prayer to action.”
I’m looking forward to this spiritually challenging inspiring season we call Lent at EPUMC. I hope you will join me.
Keep the Faith!