“It is the hope and promise of the gospel that the community of Jesus could practice a more faithful, life-giving righteousness. Neighbor is the prerequisite for communion with God. Well-being among humanity is a precondition for access to the eternal. Reconciliation is a human act, done before approaching the throne. Jesus’ teaching acknowledges two acts necessary for our humanness together: reparations to the neighbor and the offer of self to God. In that offer we enter into a new communion. These two acts together are essential in moving past alienation to new life with God in God’s world. The promise of such an act is to be free for life in the world.”
-Walter Brueggemann, Finally Comes the Poet
Entering into the Lenten season, we are invited in our faith to walk with Jesus from Ash Wednesday toward Holy Week and Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection. The promise of new life as we celebrate Easter morning reminds us of God’s steadfast love and grace extended to all God’s people. Whether we are long-time journeyers on the road of discipleship or new to the path, we look to the life of Jesus and his teachings to the disciples to work and walk toward what God invites us to become. In both our willingness to confess our brokenness toward God and one another and open hands and hearts to receive God’s grace, we live into the vision that God is already blessing for our lives and our world.
Our Lenten sermon series in traditional worship is entitled Packing for Easter. What do we pack away during these days of preparation for new life? We’ll have a large antique trunk sitting in front of the Communion tables beginning on Ash Wednesday in which we will weekly place symbolic but memorable items that we will not “unpack” until we reach Easter and are reminded how wonderfully God chooses we perfectly imperfect human beings to have life and to share our life in abundance!
We begin this journey of faith with the imposition of ashes at our traditional Ash Wednesday Service on February 14 at 7 PM in the Celebration Center. Yes, indeed, it is also the date of a hallmark holiday of no small import. What better way to show someone your love for them than to worship together in God’s mercy and grace??? I know, right?
I’m looking forward to packing for God’s journey of life and meaning with you in these difficult days of complexity and sometimes heartache. We will share some laughter and a few tears, wonder about the origin and edibility of peeps, hear again the call of our baptism, and allow God’s living word to name that fierce love that will not let us go.
See you in worship!