The Church season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is February 10 this year. Because of all the other Wednesday activities, we are going to have a short (about 30 minute) Ash Wednesday Service between 11:30 AM-noon. This service will include Communion, the imposition of ashes and a short message. There will be no music. It is NOT come and go, but will have a definite start and end time.
During Lent, we often focus on temptation. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that unlike opportunity that only knocks once, temptation usually leans on the doorbell for a long time-repeatedly! If we want to be delivered from the temptations of the evil one, we have to learn to trust God and lean on Him. Whatever the test may be, we have to get ourselves to the point that we are willing to let Jesus take the test for us, instead of trying to convince ourselves that we can do it on our own. When I admit my weakness and need, then God helps me. When I insist that I can handle things on my own, God lets me try. I usually mess things up then come to God for forgiveness. Jesus acts kind of like a lightning rod for sin and temptation in our lives. I remember learning about lightning rods from Mr. Magill, who lived in a big Victorian house around the corner from me when I was a kid. I’d asked why they put that tall iron spike on the top of their house. He told me that it was there to intentionally draw lightning, so it wouldn’t hit anywhere else close by. The rod was grounded, so the lightning passed all the way to the ground, but didn’t hurt their tall house. A lightning rod doesn’t prevent lightning, it actually attracts it. But, since it is grounded, the powerful and dangerous electricity passes right through from the air to the ground without doing any damage. Since you and I are pretty sure that we can’t pass the temptation tests on our own, we have to trust the One who always passes to keep us safe. That is what Jesus does for us. He took on Himself all of the power of temptation and sin, and He came through the experience undefeated. Lent is the church’s time for helping us to recognize each year that we really need Jesus’ help in dealing with sin and whatever may tempt us. “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live. I surrender all…..all to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all,” says the old gospel hymn. That is how we roll through these 40 days of the Lenten journey: surrendering our will to Jesus, and depending on Him to see us through life.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Jeff Symonds