Blessings to you as we begin our Lenten journey in 2023. Ash Wednesday was a rewarding time in two separate services, one at Lake Prince Woods and one at St. John’s. I am touched by the yearly reminder to “observe a holy Lent.” There is a lot of ritual and self-reflection we are invited to do during our journey and Ash Wednesday was the beginning of the journey.

We were reminded in worship yesterday about the challenges of life in community. Paul told the Christians in Corinth, “now is the acceptable time” to return to God. We are invited by our relationship with Christ to repent and return to a more full relationship with God. The Psalmist sang a song reminding us that God loves us and is willing to take the sins we offer to God and cast them away into infinity. Matthew’s gospel served as the reminder that our Lenten journey is between us and God, but that we also share the individual parts of our journey in community – supporting each other along the way.

The sermon from Ash Wednesday was informed by our Hebrew Scripture reading from Joel. In this, Joel reminds his people that bad things happen. The principal things they need to remember is, sometimes things just happen – not punishment or our mistakes. We are called to remember that God’s promises survive time and space and that we do things, not to put our heads in the ground, but to firmly place ourselves on the sure foundation of God’s love.

Blessings on your Lenten journey,

Readings: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 103; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

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