Monday, February 15, 2010

Lent is right around the corner...

Some thoughts, as Ash Wednesday draws near...
Well, it's almost here--that time of year that seems to strike suddenly and without warning, surprising us when we were just going along, minding our own business--LENT. It begins this Wednesday, when we observe Ash Wednesday. We'll have two services on the Circuit--one at Bethel at 6:00 p.m. and one at French Broad at 8:00 p.m. Both services will include the imposition of ashes, along with the call to repentance and self-examination that characterizes the liturgical season of Lent.

So, raid your cupboards; eat up all your fatty foods. (Tomorrow is, after all, Fat Tuesday--Mardi Gras.) Prepare yourself to experience God's glory again this year, glory as you've never seen before, perhaps, or glory in your everyday existence. What will you do in preparation? What will you learn about yourself and your God during this time of self-examination? What will you turn from, in order to turn back to God? It may not be a big change. It may even be something you've done before. You might try to find time to add something new to your daily routine. And you may just fail at whatever you try to do to observe this Lenten season. The point of all of it, though--whether we give up something as monumental as the internet, or whether we try to add just 2 minutes of prayer to our day--is to get back to God, or closer to God, if we don't feel too far away from God right now. What would it be like to be that disciple God wants you to be? You may not get there between now and April 4th, but the point of Lent is at least trying. Nothing we do--during Lent, or any other time--earns us God's love. The purpose of what we do during Lent--and every day, if we're really trying to live out our faith--is to be faithful to the love we've experienced, to share it with the world, to listen to God's word, to see God in and around us, and to honor that word, to be transformed by it. Will you work on that this Lent?

Some Upcoming Events
Wednesday, Feb. 17:
6:00 p.m.--Ash Wednesday Service at Bethel Church
7:00 p.m.--Bible Study at Bethel Fellowship Hall
8:00 p.m.--Ash Wednesday Service at French Broad Church

Thursday, Feb. 18:
11:30 a.m.--Bible Study at Huckleberry Springs Center

Sunday, Feb. 21: First Sunday of Lent
--The Bethel Church Council meeting originally scheduled for today has been changed to the 28th, due to the IMPACTING MINISTRY 2010 event at Middlebrook Pike UMC, which has been rescheduled for today.

Monday, Feb. 22:
7:00 p.m.--"Getting God's Attention" Lenten Study on Joel at the parsonage