The Pastor's Peace - March, 2009
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As we begin March, we begin the next liturgical season in our church calendar, Lent. We celebrate Lent as the 40 days from Ash Wednesday until Easter, not including the Sundays in-between. The liturgical color is purple, and it is a time for penitence, representing the 40 days in the desert Jesus spent prior to his ministry. This covers the basics of Lent, but what does it really mean to us as Christians? What does Lent mean to you?

Different people do different things in Lent. Some people give up things for that period of time; others add something to their life that brings them closer to God. Others will even fast for certain periods. Different denominations observe Lent by doing things such as covering the cross in a shroud and not using the word alleluia until Easter. Some go as far as physically burying the word in a box during the season. Of course many of these practices have to do with a sense of repentance on our part and strike a different tone that contrasts the joy of Easter. It is in some ways a season of Good Friday.

All of these practices might help us get into the mood of Lent, but to really understand it requires that one accepts why Easter and Good Friday are different from each other. Of course
Christ died on Friday and was raised on Sunday, but more important than that Christ ushered in a new relationship between God and humanity in the process. Through grace we as people have a different relationship with God, something that theologically was not present prior to this. You see, through Christ we were given a fresh start, a new covenant, and a new conscience. This renewal is what we truly remember this season. It is the process of recognizing how we can live out our covenant better, how we can better live out Christ's love, and culminates in a retelling of the forming of that covenant, Easter.

Not only is Lent the season when we can think about this renewal for ourselves, but it is a time for us to think about how we can be a better society at large. The economic issues we are facing now are partially cyclical, but are also largely the result of individuals and institutions that ignored warning signs in favor of a quick profit, a profit for which we are all now paying the price. How can we better instill a sense that people are more important than things? How can we have what is right be more important than what is technically legal? How do we remind ourselves that our neighbor is just as important as ourselves? These are the questions we should ponder, as we all suffer this penitence for a culture that put money first and responsibility last. May Easter come soon, may a renewal of our economy come soon as well, and may our observance of Lent better help us to appreciate what is truly important.

Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Brian