A Message from

Pastor Mark Sundberg

 

. . . remember that it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 

(Romans 11:18b)

Dear Friends in Christ,

Soon the season of Lent is upon us! Lent is the time that begins with Ash Wednesday and concludes with the joyful celebration of Easter. For ancient Christians, this was the holiest time of the year. It was also a time when those who were being baptized learned about the faith into which they were going to be initiated, usually done at the Easter vigil. So, Lent is a special time for Christians.

The context of the biblical quote above is Paul talking to the Christian Gentiles in Rome, that they have been grafted onto the promise God made to Abraham, to the Jewish people. Without that covenant, they have no standing before God. Lent is a time to remember that it is God through Jesus who saves us, who makes us right in God’s eyes, who gives us eternal life. It’s not us, it’s God. So, Lent should be a time to take the focus off of ourselves and put the focus on God.

Perhaps you have given up something for Lent. That is a good practice – although sometimes it can turn out to be self-serving rather than God-serving. Sometimes giving up something does not achieve the purpose of getting us untracked on our own world and grounded in Jesus Christ. It is good to add something, giving, praying, serving, things like that, but sometimes adding a discipline that can be a burden which does not help us focus on God.

During Lent, you will notice a change in worship – something we will be doing only during Lent. Changing things up can get us to think and experience life in a different way. We can get stuck in our daily or weekly routines, and not notice that God is in the center of our lives.

Here are a few suggestions to “change things up” in your daily life during Lent. Are you always a latecomer? During Lent, try to be everywhere 5 minutes early. Enjoy those 5 minutes. Use them to pray, to breathe, or just to relax. See how it feels! Do you watch TV or your phone during meals? Try going without – maybe just one meal a day during Lent. What does that feel like? Try to encourage three people a day; plan each morning where you might encounter the person you hope to encourage. How does that feel?

Think of your own way to change things up during Lent, with the hope that your practice opens yourself up to remember God in your life. By the way, please take part in Ash Wednesday worship on Feb. 26 at 7:00 p.m., in Lenten services on Wednesdays at 7:00 with soup suppers before (Mar. 4, 11, 18, 25; Apr. 1), and in Holy Week services Thursday, Apr. 8 and Friday, Apr. 9, both at 7:00 p.m., and of course, Easter Day services.

In Christian service,

Pastor Mark Sundberg (transitional pastor)