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March 2019

Lent: A Beginning, Not An End
Lent is a season of preparation. The way to resurrection life begins in the darkness of winter, in the shadow of human sin and death. Lent is a time for recommitting ourselves to following Jesus as he leads us out from death in the way of the cross. Lent is a beginning, not an end. On the first Sunday in Lent each year we revisit Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, where he’s tempted and tested by Satan. Our own wilderness is different from Jesus’ wilderness, but we too inevitably face testing and tempting. We draw strength on this journey from Jesus, learning from him as we do our best to follow. Sharing in the sufferings of Christ, as Christ takes on the sufferings of the world especially in Lent, Jesus reminds us if we are to be his followers, we, too, must take up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow him. Every year this can seem daunting. Yet, as we persist in asking Jesus’ help, we learn again the way might be difficult. The cross of Jesus is far gentler than all the world has to offer. For it is only in the cross and resurrection of Jesus that the sins, the sufferings, the death of this world is transformed into new life creation. For me forty days is really not long enough to be really ready for all that lies ahead. Soon we arrive at Palm Sunday, with crowds waving palm branches and shouting hosannas barely noticing the cross looming ahead. On Holy Thursday we will be with Jesus at his last supper as he’s breaking bread and giving us last reminders. Good Friday is the darkest of days yet in Christ’s strange, paradoxical gospel but here is the completion of his work as Jesus says from the cross “It is finished.” Lent is a new beginning.
Also, during Lent we must give up something for forty days. It is a way to take up the cross ourselves and trust God will give us strength to give up things. But, I challenge in this Lent season instead of giving up food, technology, or other things what if we give up what comes out of our mouths. Let’s begin with saying things positive instead of negative, let’s begin by encouraging one another instead of putting down someone for their mistakes. Sometimes we don’t realize some of our words might be hurtful, but let’s ask God to help us to begin a new journey because this world seems to be more negative than it is positive.
For the next seven weeks we are going to look at the final weeks of Jesus so he sets his face toward Jerusalem. It will help us recall the words Jesus spoke and the things that Jesus did leading up to his crucifixion. We are going to deepen our understanding and grow in our faith as we journey with Christ through the final week.

Scripture for March 2019
3-03-2019 He Set His Face Toward Jerusalem Luke 9: 51-52
3-10-2019 Palm Sunday: From Hosanna to “How Dare You!” Matthew 21:1-7, 7-10:
Luke 19: 41:46
3-17-2019 Monday: Marriage and Taxes Luke 19: 37-38, 20: 1-2
3-24-2019 Tuesday: The End of the Age and the Final Judgement Matthew 24: 1-2
3-31-2019 Wednesday: A Leper, A Grateful Woman, and a Traitorous Friend Matthew 26:6-16

It is not the end but a beginning. May we continue to walk with Him, trusting in his steadfast love, mercy, grace and hope. May his presence bless us all the ways into his fullness of life.
In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Debbie Senters