Pastor's Corner
“Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting.
This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church.
Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature.”
     …So reads the text of the Invitation to the Observance of Lent from our Ash Wednesday service.  It bears reading again and again, as we
 consider our place vis-à-vis Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
     The purpose of Lent is not to beat us down.  It is a time wherein we admit we haven’t the ability, as humans, to obtain the righteousness requisite for salvation.  A price had to be paid, a sacrifice, a ransom.
     Jesus Christ paid that price; for you and for me. Ours is to recognize this and know that we are nothing more than dust without Christ.
     Ash Wednesday, and the following days of Lent, remind us that we cannot enter into new life with Christ, unless we are willing to die to our old selves; old selves of pride, lust, greed, gluttony and plain old thinking we are right all the time.
     The Lenten journey calls us to face our mortality, both individually and as a church.  We are finite creatures.  Thus, we are marked by ashes, not as a way to show off our faith, but as symbols of the dust and broken debris of our lives… and the reality that each of us ends our time on earth in death.
     It’s an honest recognition of who we are, apart from God.  It is our declaration of our own impotence.  During Lent, we empty ourselves of false notions that we are divine; that we are the masters of our ultimate destiny; that we are gods.
 From dust we came and to dust we shall return.  Despite the successes, the job, the title, the house, the family name, the money, the kids… without the intervention of Christ, Himself, to save us; we are but dust to be blown into the wind.
     That is the crux of Lent.  We begin with complete honesty about who we are.  In this honesty, we are prepared to begin the journey towards God; towards Christ; towards the blessed glory of Easter and resurrection.
      As the prayer says: “Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth: Grant that the ashes may be to us a sign or our mortality and penitence, that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life; through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
     And so, let us walk together, through the trials of Lent into the glorious recognition of eternal life offered through Jesus Christ.

                                                                                                                                      Yours in Christ,                                                                                                                                                                                               Pastor John