The season of Lent has begun. Ash Wednesday was February 14. Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting. Fasting is neither a punishment nor a torture but a way of prayer; a way of keeping our attention where it first belongs: on God. Self denial is good for the soul. By fasting, we give up something dear to us in imitation of Christ who gave up everything to save us from our sins. In this way the season of Lent begins: a season for looking at the way we live as compared to the example of holiness that Jesus set before us.
Christ has called us to “repent and believe” (Mk.1.15) and to “take up [our] cross[es] daily” (Lk.9.23) and follow in his footsteps. Lent is the season for each of us to renew our efforts to be faithful and do the good works to which Christ has called us, mindful that all good work begins with true repentance, turning away from all that distracts us from the Gospel; and dedication to suffering for the sake of obedience to God’s word.
Jesus was not an armchair general. He led by example. He gave up the comforts of home to devote himself to the work of forming the church. And He let nothing stop Him from the mission God had given Him to suffer the weight of the cross and sacrifice Himself for our sins on that cross. He calls each us at baptism to be a member of that church that He called “my church” (Mt.16.18) and to look faithfully to the cross for our salvation.
As Christians, baptized with the Holy Spirit, we know this. We know what he expects of us and we try. Every Christian I have ever known tries to live for God. Nevertheless, we get distracted. All of us fall away. The world wears us down and before long, almost in spite of our best efforts to hold onto the faith, we lose our focus. We succumb to temptations; small ones at first and then bigger ones. We quit coming to church on Sundays. We stop praying. And before you know it we find yourself saying things like “we’re all beautiful children of God,” “we all go to a better place after we die,” and “all that really matters is that we be the best person we can be” and “do what we can to make the world a better place; God doesn’t ask more us than that.” When you find yourself thinking like that, you know you’ve lost your faith and the liberal culture has swallowed you whole. If any of those platitudes were true, the Son of God would never have had to suffer the strictures of our mortal nature or die on a cross to save us from our sins.
Use this season of Lent to your advantage. Through prayer and fasting, renew your faith. Come to church each Sunday. Seek anew God’s direction for your life. And together let us focus on what is most important: to love the gospel and to live in such a way that Christ will be proud of us.
Dates to Remember:
February 18, First Sunday in Lent: Holy Eucharist 9am
Thursday March 8, Easter Egg making begins
March 25, Palm Sunday
April 1, Easter Sunday
At the present time, several of our church members and friends are in need of our prayers. Ed Kopicki slipped on the ice and broke his shoulder. He is at home now recovering from a five -hour surgery. He will be doing therapy for 12 weeks. Ruth Bunting is in the Heritage nursing home on German Hill Road recovering from a fall. Wes Green is still recovering from the heart attack that he had this summer that caused him to need a tracheotomy. He is still suffering with the tube in his throat. Judy Martin has completed chemotherapy and is at home recovering. Ginny Prietz (Judy’s daughter) is in need of a liver transplant. Tony Mancuso injured his back and had surgery before Christmas. He told us in church last week that he is healing but has to use a cane and is still is unable to go to work.
My friend Rheeta Chetri wrote from Bhutan that the little church to which she belongs was meeting in a home but was forced out and has no place now to meet. Bhutan is a Buddhist kingdom and Christian churches are not allowed to openly organize or own property. Book stores in Bhutan do not even sell Bibles. Please pray for The Living Stones Church that God will provide a meeting place for them.
Our good friend Joe Casagrande Sr. age 92 ( father of Joe Jr.) died early Sunday morning at home surrounded by his family. The viewing will be at Ruck Funeral Home (on York Rd just south of the beltway) 2–4 and 6–8 Thursday . The Funeral will be at Ruck Funeral home Friday at 10:30. May light perpetual shine upon him; may his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.
We have a prayer chain ministry of faithful people who pray for others in crisis. If you would like to be part of the prayer chain call Carol Jean Cordle 443 756 2537 and he will fit you into the chain. If you need prayer at any time, call me Fr. String, 410 262 2005 and I will begin the prayer chain for you.