Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The prophet Joel pens these words of contrition and hope for the people of God:
12 “Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
13 Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love, (Joel 2)
Joel’s words are descriptive of this sacred penitential time of the church year called Lent. During the Lenten Season, God’s people focus on their relationship with Him and others in terms of their thoughts, words, and deeds. The Lenten journey runs parallel with our precious Savior and Lord Jesus Christ’s final journey to Jerusalem to become for us the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Lent offers us the gift of personal reflection, repentance, receiving of His divine absolution, renewal by the Holy Spirit’s work through Word and Sacraments and redirection of dimensions of our faith journey to more correlate with His desire for us to live as redeemed disciples of Jesus Christ. Simply put, Lent draws us closer to God!
How many people do you know who desperately need this time of reflection, repentance, receiving, renewal and redirection for their life? Why not ask them to become involved in the Lenten journey? How many school families do you know right here at Emmanuel that could be greatly blessed by this sacred time in the church year? What about family members? What about your neighbors? We all know someone who needs the blessing of this season! Let’s ask God for the courage and faith to reach out to them and invite them to Emmanuel! You are literally the Joel’s of today! Called to offer to those around you the redeeming message of our precious God who is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.
May Almighty God work profoundly through you this Lenten season to eternally impact the life of another person!
A blessed Lenten Season,
Pastor Michael McFarland