Dear Partners in Ministry
The season of Lent is almost here. It’s very late this year (March 9) because Easter is very late this year (April 24). With its late arrival, Lent will actually live up to its name. The word “Lent” means “spring” and spring it will be for the greater part of this 40 day season of spiritual renewal.
We got an intoxicating taste of spring breezes last week. Given the winter we’ve had, most of us are looking forward to the signs of new life that are just around the corner. So in preparation, some of us have begun stepping up our exercise regimen to get ready for the increased activities that warmer temperatures bring. Some of us are beginning to think about our gardens and some have even started growing plants from seed indoors under lamps and on window sills. Some of us are getting back to our diets in the hope of looking decent in summer attire (think swim suits!). And many are already dreaming of that summer vacation. Just the promise of spring invigorates us.
Well, that is what the season of Lent holds for us believers - the promise of being spiritually refreshed and renewed, energized and invigorated as we prepare to celebrate once again our Lord’s victory over sin and death. Talk about new life! There is nothing in this life that compares to the new life that Jesus has won for us on the cross. The green shoots of spring simply point to the saving, life renewing power of our Lord.
Our spiritual yearning for this greatest celebration of the Christian year leads us to prepare ourselves by engaging in the spiritual exercise of Lent: prayer, fasting and acts of charity. Together, as a community, we commit ourselves to faithful attendance at Sunday worship and avail ourselves of special opportunities for worshipping our Lord throughout the Lenten season. Some of us will take our personal prayer and devotional time at home more seriously, setting aside additional time to be alone with God. Fasting is all about self-denial both as a way of more fully understanding the sacrifice of Christ and as a means to benefit others. Some of us will find ways to build up our spiritual strength by practicing self-denial and help others by giving up a favorite food or not dining out and donating the money saved to world hunger or the local food bank. As for acts of charity or service, many of us will look for additional ways to serve others as a witness to the saving compassion and love of God.
Each of our congregations will be providing opportunities for you and your family to join in this spiritual journey. There will be special worship services. Lenten devotional materials will be available. Pastor Paul will be leading an in depth study of the Gospel of Mark and a Saturday retreat is planned, both of which are open to all the members and friends of the P.L.U.M. congregations. Also, special opportunities to serve are available in all of our faith communities. Additional information about these offerings can be found in this newsletter and/or upcoming Sunday bulletins.
Journeying together through this spiritual springtime of Lent, we will discover anew our Lord’s power to refresh and renew us as we eagerly prepare for the great celebration of the salvation of the whole world.
Grace and peace,
Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110 412-466-7773