Dear Grace Community:
The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, and this year Ash Wednesday was February 26. We had excellent attendance for the Ash Wednesday service. The 40 days of Lent include the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, excluding Sundays. Every year, I hear comments and questions about Lent, ranging from “What should I give up for Lent” to “What is the meaning of Lent?” For me, this season of the Christian calendar is rich and meaningful. It is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the trials and temptations that Jesus faced in his journey to the cross. It is an invitation for us to be honest and open about our sins, our shortcomings, and our ongoing need for God’s grace.
Starting this Sunday, March 1, I will begin a sermon series on “Embracing the Uncertain.” The series is based upon a book by Pastor Magrey deVega, and the idea is that the Lenten journey reminds us of the unpredictable nature of our walk with Jesus. We know that the ending is one of good news, but the journey will include many rough spots. As the author explains, “Relationships break, discernment fails, confidence falters, fears loom, shame builds, temptations grow, doubt increases.” Life is a struggle, and we need good spiritual awareness and disciplines to persevere.
The scripture passages for Sunday are Psalm 4 and Mark 9: 14-29. Please read the passages prior to worship and pray for the Holy Spirit to lead us and teach us. I plan to look closely at the challenges we face when we walk by faith and not by sight. Not knowing what lies ahead means that exercising faith is a necessary part of each day, but we do not always place our faith in the One who is trustworthy.
I challenge each of you to step out of your comfort zone and invite someone to church this week. You may be God’s messenger to transform a life! See you Sunday! – Pastor Steve