Dear Church Family,
We are in one of our holiest solemn religious observances in the Christian liturgical calendar, Lent. We began the Lent season on Ash Wednesday, with our ministry Ashes-To-Go. This year Calvary joined with Lutherans, Methodists, Congregationalists, Evangelicals and Catholics to bring our ancient Christian tradition and sign of penitence from the Middle Ages out to the streets. 136 local commuters received prayer and ashes!
Now that we’ve been doing this for a few years, even people who commute via car look for us on Ash Wednesday. We’ve discovered that many are hungry to share in this beautiful tradition with the church. One woman said she “is touched by our service to others every year no matter what the weather is like.” She is blown away that the church is always there, ready to meet people, greet them, pray with them, impose ashes, and bless them.
It is after the imposition of ashes we send commuters off “in peace.” The peace of God is absolutely priceless in our busy and hectic lives. Whenever we can offer a reminder of God’s promise to bring us peace during life’s trials, suffering, moments of heartache, or illness, it brings others the Good News of hope in knowing that we are not alone on our journey as we travel together with God.
The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, and self-denial. It is a beautiful tradition that helps refine our characters so we may resemble Christ in all facets of our lives. In order to humbly surrender to the Will of God in our lives we must FIRST make time for God. This is something easier said than done at times, so we’ve tried to create many opportunities this year to help you create space for God in your lives.
Since the beginning of Lent, we have been enjoying Lenten evening services at the First Church of Lombard Tuesdays at 7pm. Pastor Dan and I created a Lenten Worship experience focused on Healing our Past and Anticipating New Beginnings. The music, aesthetics and scripture have been a blessing for many who have heavy crosses to bear or for those looking for direction from God.
In addition to the evening service we have a weekly Lenten Study on, “The Last Week” Wednesdays 10:30-11:30am at First United Methodist. We are journeying together through the last week of Jesus’s life in order to reveal a radical and little-known Jesus. This is a beautiful practice for falling more in love with the one we’ve been called to follow.
Between services during Formation we have been learning about and discussing ancient spiritual practices used throughout the centuries in order to help center and draw us closer to God. This time has proven priceless as we’ve discovered practical new ways of finding time for God and self-reflection in the midst of our busy lives!
We also have small bags with symbols of the season in our Narthex to help assists individuals and families in practicing Lent at home. The bags include instructions and reflections to go with each item.
Please check out our Bible Study and Book Club as other Formation opportunities that will draw you into a closer relationship with our Lord who loves you more than you could fathom. Nothing will fill you or give you peace in the midst of your hectic lives like time with God!
As I rest in God, I continue to pray for you all and what God is calling us to do and who God is calling us to be.
Resting in our Lord,