Yesterday we began our journey into Lent with the Ash Wednesday reminder that, by the gracious mercy and steadfast love of God, the death of Christ redeems our own. As we prepare for the joyful proclamation of Easter’s dawn that Christ is raised from the dead, we are called to observe this Lenten season with a special kind of devotion and reflection. Because Lent is a journey, we should expect to find ourselves somewhat different at the end. Closer to God, deeply grateful, aware of how love suffers for another, renewed for discipleship, more open to how God acts in our lives and in the world. The journey offers many possibilities of where we might end up and how we might be changed.
The church offers guidance for the journey ahead. I commend the Lenten Devotional Guide prepared by the Worship Committee which can be found at all the church entrances. These reflections and prayers by church members and friends are thoughtful devotions based on the scripture readings. Take one home and place it beside your Bible. Read the passages from the Gospel of Luke assigned for each day before you read the reflections based upon them. The Luke texts will lead you in the pathway of Jesus as he sets his face on Jerusalem and the cross that awaits him there.
During Sunday morning worship I will be preaching a series of sermons through Lent based upon the Psalms. The Psalms have been the center of faith and Christian devotion for centuries. We love their familiar cadences, we pray them, we are comforted by them, we sing them, and on Sunday mornings words from the Psalms often call us to worship. But we do not hear them proclaimed from the pulpit very often. Without diminishing the beauty of the sheer poetry of the Psalms chosen for preaching, what I hope these sermons will do is plunge to their depths and come up with glimpses of God that will guide our Lenten days. The Psalms were, after all, the hymnal Jesus himself used as his companion on his journey to the cross.