Because of This … I Rejoice!

Dear Friends,
 
Lent is my favorite season of the Church year. It begins this year on Ash Wednesday, March 6.
I like the opportunity it presents each year to focus on the the wilderness journey of life that leads to the empty 
tomb of victory and triumph on Easter.This is an important opportunity for us not only once a year, but daily, as we place our hope and trust in the new life of resurrection.
 
Typically, Lent has been thought of as a season of self-sacrifice and discipline that sounds, to many Christians, like a list of spiritual chores. Lenten disciplines become the spiritual equivalent of New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, be healthier, or practice better money management. These promises are easily made and often quickly broken, leaving us feeling like we do not measure up. This is not an accurate or healthy view of the Lenten season.
 
But what if we approached Lent differently? What if we approached Lent with a spirit of joy instead of lament or despair?
 
In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul joyfully turns to spiritual practices that draw him closer to God amid persecution and imprisonment. These practices continually keep Paul connected to a sense of God’s power and presence. Joy flows from Paul and becomes a vital part of his relationship with the Philippians.
 
You’re invited to join us this Lenten season on Wednesday nights at 6:00 p.m. in the Church Lounge for a six-week study of this letter of Paul’s to the Philippians. The study is based on a book called, Because of This I Rejoice and it explores what Paul teaches about joyfully practicing spiritual disciplines. The goal of this study will be to help us focus less on ourselves and more on God as we learn to engage in the same spiritual practices as a way to grow closer to God and allow joy to flow through our daily lives.
 
Participants are encouraged to purchase the book on their own, and read prior to Ash Wednesday, if possible.
 
I hope you’ll be able to participate. Please invite a friend whom you think might enjoy or benefit from this study.
 
The entire Lenten schedule is as follows:
 
Ash Wednesday, March 6, 7:00 p.m.
Worship with Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes Wednesday, March 13, 6:00 p.m. – Joyful Prayer
 
Wednesday, March 20, 6:00 p.m. – Joyful Witness
Wednesday, March 27, 6:00 p.m. – Joyful Humility
Wednesday, April 3, 6:00 p.m. – Joyful Hospitality
Wednesday, April 10, 6:00 p.m. – Joyful Asceticism
 
Holy Thursday, April 18, 7:00 p.m.
Worship with Holy Communion – Joyful Giving
 
Lenten blessings,
 
Pastor Dale