Season of Preparation, Remembrance

The season of Lent originated in the 4th century as a 40-day preparation for those who wanted to be baptized.  It was a time of concentrated study and prayer before their baptism on Easter.  Over time the entire faith community was called to join those preparing for baptism in the disciplines of prayer, fasting and the study of scripture so they were better ready to receive and disciple the new followers of Jesus.
Today, Lent is a 40-day time of introspection, self-examination and repentance for new and long timers in the faith. The number 40 is connected to many events in Scripture, but especially with the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness resisting temptation before beginning his three-year journey to the cross.
Ash Wednesday is always the first day of Lent.  Its name comes from the ancient practice of placing ashes on worshipers’ foreheads as a sign of humility before God, a symbol of mourning and sorrow at the death sin brings into the world.  On Ash Wednesday we begin reflecting on what needs to change in our lives so we can better live an authentic Christian life.
Lent is a spiritual pilgrimage through a very secular culture. It is where we set our focus on following Jesus in the midst of all our distractions, even if it means taking up our own cross.
Join us this Wednesday, February 18th at 7:00 PM in the ARC for Ash Wednesday Worship. You will receive the ashen cross upon your forehead or hand, your choice, and then be invited to spend some time in prayer and personal reflection. The entire service will last about 30 minutes but you can remain as long as you like to pray or simply be still in the presence of God.
Lenten Journals will be available in the ARC foyer, $3 each, beginning Ash Wednesday.
This weekend, February 21-22, we begin a new message series titled “Impact.” We will be learning about the Impact Jesus had upon those who encountered him in a personal way and how to posture ourselves to experience the same.  We are also providing a short video lesson each week during Lent for all small groups that will coincide with the weekend message.
Invite a friend and I will see you in worship, Wednesday and this weekend, as together we continue to intentionally “grow up” into our faith.
I am praying for you! Please pray for me.

Rick

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