Football, Lent – and “The God Story”
The Super Bowl has come and gone – and the 2018 football season is but a faded memory, leaving some with the satisfaction of victory and triumph, and others – well, not so much. For those of us who live and die with the Green Bay Packers, last season began with visions of triumph and celebration, but those visions soon turned out to be mere pipe dreams. Hopes of glory eventually turned to the despair of defeat.
Truth be told, I think what I just described about Green Bay Packer football fortunes is in some ways reminiscent of how some people approach the season of Lent. Instead of approaching Lent with a spirit of hope and optimism, they view this significant season of the Christian year almost with a sense of dread – a time of somber self-denial not to be enjoyed or appreciated, but rather to be merely endured.
At a deeper level, I’m certain that we know that’s really not what Lent is about, and this year I’m inviting us as a congregation to move in a new direction! This year I’m inviting us to go on a 7-week exploration of “The God Story.” We’ll follow the fascinating story of God’s interaction with humanity across the centuries, and we’ll rediscover the truth that hope can be found in the midst of life’s most difficult circumstances.
“The God Story” will inspire us to reflect on Jesus’ experiences on the path to the cross in new and meaningful ways. It will encourage us to see to real life situations with fresh eyes. And it will challenge us to interact with God no matter our stage in life. We’ll discover how faith in Christ is relevant to everyday life and how having a faith community can make all the difference.
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, and we will gather that evening, March 6, beginning with a simple meal of soup and bread at 6:00 p.m. followed by a worship service at 6:30 p.m. that will include the traditional Christian practice of imposition of ashes. Throughout the following five Sundays, and then Palm/Passion Sunday and Easter Sunday, my preaching themes will feature the continuing story of God’s great love for humankind – a love that eventually leads us to Calvary’s cross and the empty tomb! Holy Week will include a worship service on Holy Thursday at 7:00 p.m. that will include the sacrament of Holy Communion – a meaningful reminder of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples prior to his crucifixion. On Good Friday the church will be open for a prayer vigil for those who would like to prayerfully reflect on the hours of Christ’s suffering on the cross.
Lent is the season that gets us ready for the most hopeful day in all of human history – the day on which we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! No matter how dismal our outlook might be at the moment, Easter reminds us that there is always hope! May God bless us this Lenten season as we find our own place in “The God Story!”
In Christ’s love – and mine,