Sunday, February 7, 2016

Getting Ready for Lent

Matthew Chapter 5, beginning at verse 1

 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them.

He said:

 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
 Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
 Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
 Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

(Matthew 5:1-12, New International Version)

Lent starts this Wednesday, six weeks of preparation for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. For many, it is a time for repentance, self-examination and reflection. Many will also choose to give up something (chocolate!) or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. Last year, an acquaintance of mine sent a card each day (40 in total) to someone who they admired or felt was living out their Christian faith or just made a difference. There are probably lots of other ways you can observe Lent and grow in your faith. Hopefully, anyone who observes Lent in any of these ways is doing so to focus their heart and mind on Jesus, and not to satisfy some manmade requirements. Whatever you do, do it for the right reasons.

That being said, I once again wanted to write my Sunday blogs during Lent around a central theme. I was thinking about sharing one of Jesus’ parables each week, but when I started looking at them in my Bible, the Beatitudes jumped out at me. Aren’t these beautiful verses? They are also the first verses of the Sermon on the Mount, which you just might get to read more of over the next six weeks.

In the meantime,

Lord, God Heavenly Father, open our hearts and minds to Your word, not only between now and Easter but every day of the year. Amen. 
One of my flower pots buried under snow. In six weeks will it have emerged?

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