The month of March dawns with an invitation for us to once again take the Lenten journey: forty days of prayer, reflection, worship and service leading up to the darkness of Good Friday and the incredible joy of Easter. We’ll begin our journey together with an Ash Wednesday service at 6:30 pm on March 1. This year the service will be designed to be especially appropriate for everyone elementary-school age and up. Please join us in the sanctuary as we encounter both our own mortality and the glimpse of hope that awaits us at the end of Lent and of our lives.
March 5–11 will be Prayer Week at Redeemer. We’ll launch the week with a sermon focused on prayer, and then throughout the week there will be opportunities to gather both to pray and to learn more about prayer. We will also be transforming the Memorial Room into an interactive prayer experience that is designed to engage you in different types and styles of prayer. The room will be open throughout Prayer Week and will be able to accommodate up to five or so people at a time, so families are welcome to come and participate together. Watch the bulletin and website for specifics about Prayer Week.
Throughout this season of Lent, I invite you to consider not only what you might “give up” or abstain from (if that’s been your practice, or if it’s something you’re willing to try), but also what you might commit to “take on,” in terms of a new or additional rhythm of prayer, study, or service to others. How might each of us take on the yoke of Jesus this season and learn from the gentle, humble Master who promises not to lay on us anything ill-fitting, but only those burdens that are light and that lead to abundant life (see Matthew 11:28–30)? If you’re wondering what next step you might take in growing deeper with Jesus and in your commitment as his disciple, I’d love to have a conversation with you.
Toward the end of our Lenten journey, we’ll be celebrating God’s goodness and the gifts of faith and new life in an immersion baptism service. On Palm Sunday (April 9), we’ll be holding one combined worship service at 10 am, so that together we can celebrate the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem on the brink of Holy Week and witness and celebrate as several people who have placed their faith in Christ take the important step of being baptized. If you are interested in finding out more about baptism for yourself or for your older children who may be ready for this sacrament, please contact me to find out more and to hear about a class that will be held for all those presenting themselves for baptism.
Since Lent comes upon us each and every year, it’s possible for us not to pay it any particular attention and to thereby miss this important season ahead of our Easter celebration. Just as there can be a tendency to overlook Advent in the rush to Christmas, we miss out on the beauty and lessons of Lent if we simply let it slip by. Our Savior, Jesus, faced a long road to Jerusalem and to the cross at Calvary, and it is these weeks of Lent that invite us to journey with him and to remember again what we’ve been given and to what we’ve been called. As we embark upon the road with Jesus, we’ll encounter fellow pilgrims along the way, for though this is a personal invitation, it’s one that, once accepted, draws us once again not only to Jesus but to others who seek to follow him ever more closely and faithfully.
May our God and Savior grant you strength and guidance for the journey ahead, and may his Spirit speak to each of our spirits along the way, guiding and encouraging and challenging us as only he can.