Dear Church Family, 

Next Wednesday, February 14 is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the season of Lent, a 40-day journey of spiritual preparation for the joy of Easter.  I simply wanted to reach out to you and invite you to participate in this season of preparation in a few ways. 

First, I would invite you to join us for our Ash Wednesday service on the 14th at 6:30 pm in our Sanctuary.  For those unfamiliar with this day on the Christian calendar, it is a day set apart to recognize both our mortality and our sinfulness.  While these things are not something we are often eager to reflect on, spending time remembering these aspects of our lives can lead us to a greater sense of appreciation for the grace of God that more than covers our mortality and our sin. 

Second, I would encourage you to find a concrete way to observe this season of Lent.  Many people often decide to fast from something—particular foods or drinks, excessive media consumption or phone use, or any habit that draws your attention away from Jesus.  Other decide to take on an intentional commitment to a spiritual discipline—meditating on scripture, singing hymns and spiritual songs daily as a form of worship, listening to God through extended moments of silence, etc.  And some people have found it incredibly beneficial to combine such fasting and other spiritual disciplines.  For instance, if you have given up watching a particular TV show, you can use that time to read scripture.  Or, if you have given up a particular meal during the week, you can spend that time in silence before God. 

However we decide to make an act of surrender during this season—by giving something up, by taking a new discipline on, or by a combination of both—I pray that we will be able to purposefully walk alongside Jesus as he sets his face toward Jerusalem, surrendering himself to the will of God, journeying into the heart of human darkness and sin and taking up the cross until he bursts forth by the power of God in the glory of resurrection life.  May our Lenten journeys lead us, similarly, to new life abundant and free, even as they take us through the valley of surrender and purification for the sake of our Lord and his Kingdom. 

Grace and Peace,