Getting Ready for Easter

Getting Ready for Easter
Pastor’s Ponderings – Feb 2019
The season of the Christian calendar which falls prior to our Easter Celebration is called “Lent.” Not “lint” like you find in your drier. This is different.
Every season of the year has a different quality or experience. Just like summer is usually warm and winter is usually cooler, our Christian seasons have a particular quality too.
Lent during 2019 formally begins with Ash Wednesday, which is March 6. The traditional Christian ritual associated with Ash Wednesday is receiving an ash smudge on your forehead. The ashes traditionally are the burnt palm branches used on Palm Sunday from the prior year.
Lent invites you to review your life. It’s a time to assess the ways you are feeling connected to God and your neighbors and discern what you like and what you’d like to change. Traditionally Christians have given something up for Lent, and “fasted” from something which distracted them from their spiritual life.
Contemporary Christians have new opportunities to experience the rituals leading us to Easter. Some Christians fast from one meal a day and give the money they save to a food bank or shelter or their church. Some Christians take on a new spiritual discipline for this season. A friend of mine prayed her way through the Psalms one year. Another friend began a yoga class to get more physically fit and honor the needs of her body.
This year I will be preaching a sermon series on spiritual activities that help us connect with God. These spiritual rituals will include: cleaning out and decluttering, listening to silence, giving gifts to others, creative activities like writing and travel. Done with focus and intent, we can find a new and restored relationship with God during Lent. No need to auto-pilot giving something up, maybe think of new ways to connect this year.
Lent concludes on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. Holy Week is the week just prior to Easter. During that week Christians worldwide remember Jesus’ final days on earth. We remember his gift of love and life that he offered humanity. We remember the pain of his life which ended violently and with great hatred. And we remember that God does not allow pain and hate to be the final word of any story.
Easter morning is a celebration of Jesus resurrection. This is the most sacred and holy of all Christian holidays. The meaning of being Christian is bound in the joy that God overcomes tragedy with healing life. The resurrection of Jesus is a mystery which we can never fully understand. What we can trust is that God accompanies humanity through every dark place we go.
Looking forward to Lent 2019…
Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw

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