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A Word from Pastor . . .

February 26, 2019

Jesus, I will Ponder Now

Next Wednesday, March 6, is Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is traditionally counted as the 40 days before Easter (minus the Sundays).

As part of their observance of Lent, many people will “give something up.” This depriving oneself of something physical or material began as a way of demonstrating a more intense and earnest spiritual focus during the days leading up to Holy Week and finally Easter. Unfortunately, in many cases today, the idea of giving something up for Lent has mutated into nothing more than an attempt to live a healthier lifestyle. “I’m giving up smoking for Lent.” “I’m giving up cream-filled donuts for Lent.” “I’m giving up Caramel Cocoa Cluster Frappuccinos.” The goal is weight loss, or lower blood pressure, or lower cholesterol.

For the purposes of this article, let’s not think in terms of what we are going to give up for Lent, let’s think of what we want to get. Let’s not think in terms of depriving ourselves, let’s think in terms of treating ourselves.

Lent is a wonderful time to spend some extra time in the quiet contemplation of the loving resolve of Jesus to save you. Treat yourself to more of God’s Word during these next days and weeks. If daily reading of God’s Word hasn’t been a part of your routine, why not treat yourself this Lent? Begin reading. Read the Gospels of Mark and John. Between these two books there are 37 chapters. Almost the perfect number to take you through Lent! In your reading you will review the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And your readings for Holy Week will have you in those final and beautiful chapters of John (Jesus’ death and resurrection). Treat yourself to the additional opportunities to gather in corporate worship with your brothers and sisters in Jesus. Once again this year there will be midweek Lenten services here at Lord of Love (12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday), as well as Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil services. Treat yourself to an extra meal at the Lord’s Table in Holy Communion.

Lent is a special treat. It is a treat for our souls. To mourn our sin and see the sinless Lamb of God take it all away is rich spiritual fare. What we gain in Lent through humble meditation on Jesus’ sacrifice is far more, and more significant than, anything we would ever “give up for Lent”!

Let’s not make Lent about “us” and our “deprivations.” The only thing ever given up that made a difference in heaven’s halls of justice was when the Lord Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit (John 19:30) and the justice of God was satisfied. This Lent, let us spend some extra, and extra-special, time in grateful devotion and worship of the One who gave His life as a ransom for us all.

With you, pondering the holy passion of Jesus,

Pastor Jenswold

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