The Lenten Season is upon us. For some, this is also the time for spring cleaning. These weeks preceding the celebration of Easter offer us a sacred space for reflection, confession, discipline and change—a sort of spring cleaning for the individual soul and the church at large. These need not be hard days. There is a particular joy in the hard work of spring cleaning. The time and energy spent on the task is often rewarded with the satisfactions of new starts and things put in order. In addition, friends, family and guests enjoy our refreshed spaces. Our Lenten Season will be a spring cleaning of sorts.
On Sunday mornings during Lent, we will clean up our skewed and messy images of God by exploring the idea of ‘Meeting God Again.’ The first Sunday of Lent will find part of our congregation on retreat at Lake Junaluska with Philip Gulley. I will be leading worship here at 847 Cleveland Street in the Fellowship Hall. We will all be reintroducing ourselves to the loving, mysterious God we worship. Each Sunday morning during the Lenten season, we will explore new and inspiring aspects of God’s nature. On Wednesday evenings, we will put things in order with a series titled, ‘When I Survey the Cross.’ Beginning Ash Wednesday, March 2, and the Wednesdays of Lent thereafter, we will engage the many different interpretations of Jesus’ crucifixion. Some are more easily embraced than others. All have been and are a part of Christian practice and understanding. In addition to the biblical study, we will be reviving the old ‘cross hymns’ of years past: “The Old Rugged Cross,” “At the Cross,” “There’s Power in the Blood,” and many more.
Because we want our ‘spring cleaning’ to not only benefit ourselves, but others, we will revisit a past Ash Wednesday practice of giving each family in attendance $100 and a testimony card. Over $10,000 will be distributed to our gathered congregation! We invite you to make a difference in someone’s life with the $100 (and any amount you choose to add to it), then write a brief description of the experience on your testimony card and turn the card into the church. (No names necessary on the card). The cards will be posted on the church bulletin board and we will humbly celebrate God’s work among us. Now…let’s get ready for Lent…and a little spring cleaning.