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1st Sunday of Lent
Ash Wednesday


Texts & Discussions:

Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
Romans 10:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13



Call to worship

L: God of rainbow and promise,
P: God of wilderness wanderings.
L: God of dark nights of doubt.
P: God of comfort and call,
L: Dwell with us this holy season of Lent
P: And lead us from temptation to trust, from fear to love, from despair to hope, from sadness to joy.



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Children's Messages


Sermon Excerpt:

So We Enter the Wilderness   
Luke 4:1-13,
Rev. Tom Hall

Lent, for all of the non-alleluias and abstinence associated with the season, isn’t even in the Bible.  Doesn’t make so much as a cameo appearance.  Early Christians did not have a place for such a season.  We’ll see some giving-up of meals here and there in the records, but the forty days of Lent was not in the agenda of early Christians.  Self-denial, however, was always in season.  Many early Christians were clearly distinguished by their love for one another, by their willingness to give up status, freedom, and even life and limb for the faith they owned.  Life was always in the balance, lived on the edge in those early days. 

            But once the adrenaline rush of persecution ended, life reverted to ho-hum again.  Accommodation not aggravation.  Since Jesus hadn’t returned according their last days calendar, everyone settled back for a long wait.  Eventually accommodation gave way to acculturation—fitting in took top priority.  In fact, there was scarcely any discernable difference between Christians and nonchristians.  They no longer expressed such bold love for one another, and fewer and fewer were getting arrested for siding with those who were poor, sick, handicapped, impoverished.  Accommodation in.  Extremes out.   Crosses of martyrs produced a cottage industry of devotional jewelry and mantle pieces.  And Christians became comfortable.  As Barbara Brown Taylor puts it, “They decided there was no contradiction between being comfortable and being Christian.”

            So eventually—no one knows exactly when—Lent was invented as a six-week period of spiritual discipline before Easter.  Playing loose with the numbers will yield the number 40.  Moses was on the Mountain of God for forty days.  Forty were the years he stayed on the backside of the wilderness.  Forty were the years that Israel wandered in the wilderness and the days that Jesus went without food in the wilderness.  Forty days is a long time; it reminds us that we’re talking about a process rather than a once-for-all event when it comes to the conversion of our lives. Subscribers: Click here for the entire manuscript and more


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