Lenten Thoughts: Season of reflection, renewal begins

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The Perry Ministerial Association will not hold weekly Tuesday Lenten services and luncheons this year, but rather association members will be sharing a weekly reflection with the community here in this space. This week’s reflection is by the Rev. Andrea Brownlee, pastor of the First Christian Church.

We invite you, if you feel inclined, to send an offering or donation to the Good Samaritan Fund that supports our community outreach and assistance program. Those donations can be sent to Perry Ministerial Association, P.O. Box 156, Perry, IA 50220.

From Ash Wednesday (Feb. 17) until Holy Saturday (April 3), we find ourselves in the season of Lent. In the early days of the Church, the season of Lent was a time of preparation for new converts as they readied their hearts to enter Christian Baptism on Easter Sunday.

Since these new members were to be received into a living community of Faith, the entire community was called to preparation. Also, this was the time when those who had been separated from the Church would prepare to rejoin the community of Faith.

Today, the season of Lent is a time of prayer, fasting, self-examination and penitence for all Christians as we prepare to celebrate Easter. Through this 40-day journey, we are reminded that we are totally unworthy before God, that we have nothing with which we can obtain salvation and that our best efforts at being righteous fall far short.

But God continues to love us anyway and gives of opportunities to keep trying and working at living lives worthy of the love which God so freely gives! The season reminds us how much we need grace in our lives in order to live a transformed life that reflects God’s love. We are called to renew our commitments and our faith as we continually acknowledge our need of God’s transforming presence with us.

Lent is an opportunity for us to repent. In other words, it is a time to return to God and re-focus our lives to be more in line with Jesus. It is a time to intentionally work on allowing God to change our hearts.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Psalm 51:10-12

If nothing else, I invite you to pray theses three verses of Psalm 51 throughout these 40 days Lent.

Blessings on this journey,
Pastor Andrea, First Christian Church

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