Our Lenten Journey
Lent is just around the corner. So what is Lent? Lent is like an ellipse: It is a single entity with a double focus. The Forty Days are a time for a probing consideration of our human condition, including sin and its deadly consequences for both individuals and society, and a time for an equally intense consideration of the new possibilities offered to us in Jesus Christ and their implications for practical living. Both foci determine the shape of the season as a whole. But in a sense our Lenten journey takes us through the ellipse lengthwise. Beginning on Ash Wednesday we become fully aware of our disobedience, and by Easter we become more attuned to the benefits of divine redemption.
We begin Lent by stressing penitence: and acknowledgment of our rebellion against God and our alienation from God’s whole creation. We move on to the fruits of repentance: the amendment of life that results when we turn around and by God’s grace head in a new direction.
The spiritual process in Lent is intended to engage person of different points spiritual growth and maturity. We have those who are preparing for Baptism (The historical reason for Lent). We have those who are baptized and are active in the life of the church who need reassessment and renewal, lest a lively faith be diminished by an increased conformity to old ways, or simply by the dead weight of unimaginative piety. Finally, Lent is for those who have departed from the faith who
need restitution and restoration.
February 10 is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of our forty days of discipline.
Our discipline is not done out of a sense of duty or obligation but from a sense of grateful devotion. In the past much was made of “giving something up for Lent”. At times this was trivial if harmless self-denial: abstaining from chocolate or attendance at movies. At times it was dishonest: giving up cigarettes because the physician had sternly warned of the dangers of smoking. It is now in vogue that we should “take on something for Lent”, visit the homebound, do a daily devotion (we have one available if you desire). Giving up or doing are both good ideas but miss the point of Lenten discipline of self-examination that seeks greater conformity to the mind of Christ and more effective ministry of behalf of the world.
Our Lenten disciplines should be spiritual exercises that change us for all time. Solid spiritual disciplines seek to effect the same kind of permanent acquisition. Instead of forbidding chocolate or adding a Bible reading for six and a half weeks, Lenten disciplines drive deeply into the religious psyche by asking questions such as these:
- What progress am I making in sharing what I have with the church, the stranger and the poor?
- How can I be more gracious to those whom I disagree?
- How has my sense of interconnectedness in corporate worship grown?
- Do I appreciate the contributions to St. Johns others make on my behalf?
- Am I as charitable and thoughtful to family members as to others?
- Do I speak up for the oppressed and bullied?
Do I listen more and talk less in my prayers and reading of scripture?
- How can I be more responsive to the sick, distressed and the bereaved?
- Am I, by my consistent attendance at worship, a witness to others of the worthiness of the God I follow? Or am I, by my sporadic attendance, suggesting that God is worth serving some times, but not others?
- These and similar disciplines are designed to have effects far past the Lenten season.
Calendar, Christ Time for the Church, Stookey, Abingdon Press, 1996, p 80-83
news & events
- February 9Shrove Tuesday
The youth will serve a pancake meal at 6:00 pm, followed by Bingo at 6:45 pm. Prize basket items are needed: outdoors/sports, kitchen, home baked goods, family night, gardening, car detailing, spa & art.
- February 10 - Wednesdays during LentAsh Wednesday
Worship is at 7 pm. Mark your calendars. During Lent, on Wednesdays, Soup & Sandwich is at 6 pm followed by worship at 6:45. The dates are February 17-March 16. The soup and sandwiches are provided by the congregation-here is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board outside the Nave.
- February 11Men’s Breakfast
Thursday, February 11h at 7:00 AM at Gregg’s BBQ in Statesville.
- February 13Community Breakfast
8 AM—10 AM in St. John's Fellowship Hall. Come & bring your neighbor—Donations to benefit local charities.
- March 19Spirituali-Tea
Spirituali-Tea: 2—4 pm – Fellowship Hall; Reflecting the Beauty of the Lord
- March 21Blood Mobile
St. John’s is hosting the Bloodmobile. We are planning on using the large room across the hall from the Lounge with refreshments being served in the Lounge. We need a few more individuals to work in the canteen area as well as cookies and brownies. If you can help, contact Gail Pope (704-872-9668) or Pat Caskaddon (704-872-4829).
- June 18Spa Day
Spa Day: 8:30 am-1:00 pm – Fellowship Hall and Classroom; Designed by the Master Designer
Sunday, January 31
9:30 am Sunday School (all ages)
10:30 am Worship
Wednesday, February 3
9:30 am Rebekah Circle
4:45 pm Youth to 5th Street
6:00 pm Handbells
7:00 pm Chancel Choir
Thursday, February 4
6:30 pm Boy Scout Roundtable
Sunday, February 7 - Transfiguration Sunday
9:30 am Sunday School (all ages)
10:30 am Worship
Monday, February 8
7:00 pm Council Meeting
Wednesday, February 10 -
7:00 pm Worship