Pastor's Corner

"Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me"
(Psalm 51:10)

The Psalmist writes a powerful Lenten prayer in just one sentence. Lent is a penitential season. It is a time to repent. Lent is soon upon us. It begins on Ash Wednesday, March 5 and ends on Easter Sunday, April 20.

I would like to share and paraphrase the thoughts of Robin Ray, President of Eastern APCE (Association of Presbyterian Church Educators).

Lent is not a season to hijack for weight loss purposes or a time we can use to prop up lagging self-discipline for our exercise routine. No, Lent is a time of repentance. It literally is a turning away from sin - carnal, worldly, and selfish desires - and a turning to God.

Throughout this forty day period which begins, we move toward the passion of Christ -- the demonstration of God's incomparable love for us. We do this through prayerful self-examination of how we fall short of who God creates us to be and how we need to realign our thoughts, actions, desires, and motivations to be in keeping with the will of God.

Discerning the will of God, you may say, is not easy. True. But following the example of Jesus Christ -- while far from easy -- makes what is expected of us clear. We are to act in love. We are to put the needs of others before our own. We are to reach out to include the stranger and the outcast in our community, and we are to treat everyone as we would like to be treated, indeed with the grace that we know in Jesus Christ.

Friends, in the weeks ahead, walk with me to Jerusalem. See the people Jesus encounters along the way and pay attention to how he treats them. As disciples, we are to do likewise. There will several opportunities for prayerful reflection - bible study, Sunday morning worship, and Lenten daily devotionals. May God guide us as we go.

The blessings of God be with you,