Sunday, March 5, 2017
"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: Christians have always observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection. It became the custom of the church to prepare for Easter by a season of penitence, fasting, and prayer. This season of forty days provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for baptism into the body of Christ. It is also the time when persons who had committed serious sins and had been separated from the community of faith were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the church. The whole congregation is thus reminded of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the need we all have to renew our baptismal faith. I invite you, in the name of the Lord, to observe a holy Lent, by self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving; and by reading and meditating on the Word of God."
These are words some may not have heard today at worship or last week at the Ash Wednesday service, but they still remain important for the church and those of us who seek to remember the journey of Christ to the cross. The Invitation gives us a historical word, but it also serves to inform those who worship what it means to observe a holy Lent. Obviously, an important part of Lent has to do with our participating in a renewed manner the disciplines of the spiritual life. These disciplines are important. They have a way of helping us see the important things of life. They also help us to know what it is to know the presence of God at the center of our lives. Read the words again and again. Know you are one of the ones being invited to observe a holy Lent.
I invite you to share in this journey of faith. Read the Word as it tells us of the way which took Christ to the cross. Decide again it is a journey chosen. Meditate on what it means to follow. Look not at others who travel the road, but inward to see what it is that drives the heart. Whatever it takes to move deeper into life in Christ, choose to do it. Find yourself to be one of those who comes to the celebration of the empty tomb knowing that the heart has been emptied of all those things which hinder the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. Know the joy on that day of room being made for the living Christ to dwell.