Greetings in the name of Jesus our Suffering Savior,
Dear fellow redeemed, we have entered into the season of Lent after having recently celebrating Ash Wednesday. We have embarked on a 40 day journey that will eventually lead us to the cross, where Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice and gave his all, as He offered up His broken body and shed His precious blood, to pay for your sins, my sins, and the sins of all mankind. What an amazing display of love was carried out by God’s only Begotten Son in this sacrificial act.
Lent, for us as Christians, is intended to be a time of penitential reflection. We are to be intentional in thinking about who we are as sinners and people in need of a Savior, and who Jesus is as the Savior we are in such great need of. This is definitely not a time of the Church Year for us to become complacent about living out our faith life. Within each of us there should exist a passion and desire to come before the Lord with contrite and repentant hearts. Let us be like David, a man after God’s own heart, who spoke these words of confession in Psalm 32, which poured forth from an attitude of humility and thankfulness. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me, my strength was dried as by the heat of the summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”
Throughout the season of Lent you and I will have the opportunity to be in the Lord’s house for worship on both Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. At each of these services we will be focusing on God’s work of salvation through the life, suffering, and death of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man. In these services, as with all services, there will be time to reflect on our sinfulness, confess our sins before God, and then enjoy the blessing of hearing those wonderful words of forgiveness offered by me, as your Pastor, in the name of Jesus. I hope you can understand the great importance there is in committing to be at these Sunday and Mid-week Lenten services.
The overall title of our Lenten Mid-week service series this year is “To Seek and To Save”. The individual weekly titles are “Unbind Him”; “That One Man Should Die”; “The Day of My Burial”; “Up to Jerusalem”; “The Cup that I Drink”; “To Save the Lost”. As I reviewed this resource material it appeared to be a very good series that would help us get our hearts and minds centered on what the season of Lent is really all about. I hope this will be a blessing for each of us to go through, as we make our way to our Good Friday celebration, with our Cross Walk and Tenebrae Service of Darkness.
Another way to help us stay focused, as God’s faithful people, on the penitential season of Lent, is to use a Lenten devotion of some type. There are several devotion books (both general and Lenten) on the table in the corridor at church. You can also go online to our website (emmanuelontheridge) and get daily devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries and LWML. You will need to click on the Resource area and then the Links dropdown, and from there you can access both organizations devotional material.
As we traverse our way through this Lenten Season, I pray it will be a time of personal, spiritual growth for each one of us. And may it also be an opportunity for you and me, to invite our family members and friends, to enter into this 40 day journey with us, as we humbly make our way to Calvary and our Savior’s saving sacrifice. God’s richest blessings as we go forth!