Pastor’s Ponderings

Well, here we are.  It’s Lent!  Hard to believe that this time has once again come upon us, isn’t it?  Last year, this season was interrrupted by the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We really didn’t get to stay focused on its purpose, because we were so distracted by everything else that was going on.  So, perhaps, let us start afresh. 

            According to ResourceUMC, “Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection” (  It is the 40 days leading up to Easter, in which we take time to examine where we are in our faith journey.  As 2 Corinthians reminds us: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test!” (2 Cor 13:5).  No, surely none of us want to “fail to meet the test,” do we?

            So, what do we do?  How do we prepare?  Well, the spiritual practices typically associated with this season usually entail giving something up, participating in a season of fasting from something.  Many give up chocolate or meat.  Some will give up TV or social media.  Yet, the real idea behind this is associated with sacrifice.  Are the giving up of these things truly sacrificing something in your life?  Will it hurt to let them go?  What if instead of for forty days, what if you gave them up forever?  Would it then be a sacrifice?

            In light of this, many have altered from the concept of giving up some object, to sacrificing their own time – intentionally participating in something that they had not previously been doing which benefits God and neighbor.  After all, James proclaimed, “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like” (James 1:22-24).  What could you do this season that may transform the world and further your faith journey?  What could you do that would make so much more impact than just not eating chocolate for a few weeks?

            You see, fasting is often all about us, while sacrificing of our time is giving to someone else.  After all, that’s what Jesus did, didn’t he?  All he wanted to do was give of himself for others.  So, perhaps, this Lent, our call might be the same?

                                                                                    Pastor Steve

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