On Friday I did something different...I led the worship and preached (as we recorded our first video) in our newly renovated sanctuary on Linden Place. It felt different, it looks different, it sounded different than our former home at ‘the Barn’. I thought about those differences as Lynette and I traveled to the coast later that day. Not so much on how the new place has been transformed, although that could best be described as a miracle of hard work and creativity, but more about how we will be ‘transformed’ and be different in this new place. Taking current Covid restrictions aside, I wondered if we would continue to be a place that was ‘open’, full of the joy of fellowship, focusing on ministry outside of our selves. My day dreaming about this brought me to the conclusion that...’Yes, we will be in a different space, with different sights and sounds...but the same Spirit’. Thanks be to God for all of the different gifts he brings into our life!
Lent is the season of forty days (minus the Sundays!) between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It is a season of preparation in advance of our commemoration of the death and resurrection of Christ. Lent is a formal time set aside for us to rid our lives of the burden of sin that we accumulate as we go through life. Small sins of unkindness. Large sins of unfaithfulness. Sins of dishonesty. Sins of inaction. All of these sins attach themselves to us through the simple business of living—often going without our notice. What we seek to do during Lent is look at them—notice them –and seek to rid ourselves of them.
In 2 Corinthians 6:4-10, Paul instructs us to use whatever life throws at us (and between the pandemic, political turmoil and economic struggles the past year has thrown a lot our way) as a means of ridding our lives of sin and becoming true servants of God— “great endurance, afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God.” All our life experiences, even those that leave us feeling “beaten up” can be transformed into means by which we deepen our relationship with God. We usually think of “giving up” something for Lent. But we can also take things on. We can challenge ourselves to do acts of service or extraordinary exercises in patience and forbearance. Any situation in which we find ourselves can be used to our spiritual benefit if we will tune our minds in that direction. So during this Lent let us use everything in our lives, positive and negative, to sharpen our attention upon God and to replace our shortcomings with the potential for faithful life that God has put within each of us...
PS...If you have a copy I encourage you to use “Lent in Plain Sight: A Devotion Through Ten Objects” by Jill Duffield, as a very helpful resource during Lent 2021!
It is a time of transitions..winter gives way to spring (Although it appears that winter is making a strong comeback early next week!) Baseball games at Dudy Noble overlap basketball games at the Hump. (Looking forward to that!). Even with Covid there is a seeming transition from news of another case or death to when we are scheduled to get our ‘shots’. (My fervent prayer is that this transition will be permanent!) Here at FPCUSA, Starkville, soon to officially be STARKVILLE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, there is a transition from ‘the Barn’ to our new, and beautifully renovated church property on Linden Place. (And when we will transition back into ‘face to face’ worship!) On our church calendar we transition from the miracles, the power and glory of Christ during Epiphany to the steady journey with Jesus to the Cross.
One of my most consistent thoughts of how God relates to us is in the term ‘with us’.
Just as I am certain of God being with us as we make our eternal transition from life to death, as so many of our friends have done over the last few months...So I am certain that God is with us as we make all of the transitions of life...
|Starkville Presbyterian Church PC(USA) Starkville, MS||