The Pastor’s Desk-February Newsletter

“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.” Luke 4:1-2

Lent begins this year on February 14th and commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent fasting and praying in the desert and enduring temptation by Satan, as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. This was at the beginning of his earthly ministry. This time of preparation helped to focus his mind and heart on his three year journey to the cross. Similarly, the church has historically observed the season of Lent as we approach the celebration of Easter. Lent is a season marked by a somber tone of reflection and repentance. Recognizing the great joy that comes with the resurrection, Lent first calls us to feel the weight of our sin that nailed Jesus to cross.

Just preceding Lent is Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday is sometimes called Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday. Fat Tuesday is the last day before the beginning of Lent and, historically, was when Christians would prepare a large feast to use up meat and supplies they would normally not use until Easter. Both Homestead and Dorton Churches will have a pancake supper in observance of Fat Tuesday. Dorton begins at 4:30 pm. Homestead begins at 5:00 pm.

 But, officially, the season begins with Ash Wednesday. Traditionally symbolizing mourning or grief, Ash Wednesday involves a symbolic placing of ashes on our foreheads. The ashes represent an outward expression of repentance for our sin. Ash Wednesday will be February 14th (also Valentine’s Day- how appropriate?) from 5:00-6:00 pm. Feel free to drop by the side narthex for the imposition of ashes by Pastor Tim.

Along with committing to special times of prayer throughout the season, many Christians choose to “give up” or “fast” from specific things. For example, you might fast from caffeine or social media to place your attention on Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection.

In times of temptation to “break the fast” we learn to turn to God and rely upon his strength to endure. As we begin Lent, let us be challenged during the season with whatever we decide to fast from. And, as a church, let us commit ourselves to both prayer and fasting during this season so that our minds and hearts may be encouraged to love Jesus, live like Jesus, and lead others to Jesus.

 Lent continues through Thursday, March 28th, concluding with the annual Seder Meal here at the church.