Peace Lutheran Church Natoma, Kansas
In a year with an abnormal winter, it might seem strange that Lent should be upon us this month, but it is. Indeed, we normally think of Lent as beginning in the middle of a long, cold winter, and ending with Easter in the early spring when signs of new life are all around us in the grass and trees coming back, as well as the days growing longer allowing for more sunlight. Yet this year, at least so far, the weather is far from frightful, it is in fact quite delightful on most days. And with the weather already allowing for dreams of spring, it is hard to imagine that we still not only have quite a bit of winter left, but we also have the time of Lent before us.
Perhaps it is appropriate that Lent should sneak up on us, because that is so often what sin does: it sneaks up on us and catches us completely by surprise. Sin waits until you are feeling secure, perhaps even a little over-confident to the point that you may not need a Savior or need a Lent to remind you of your sinfulness. It is at these times of confidence that sin finds you, when your guard is down, and it surprises you to the point where before you even know what is going on, you are trapped in a cycle of sin that seems impossible to break free from.
The devil loves it when he can surprise you and lead you into astray. The problem is that the devil never has a good surprise for the people of God; he only carries surprises of sin and death.
It is especially during these times where your guard may be down, where you may be feeling a little confident in your works, that you need Lent. Lent is that constant reminder to Christians everywhere that they live in a fallen world and have themselves fell victim to the surprise attacks of the devil and are in need of a Savior.
And so despite what the weather says and despite what the calendar may say, the season of Lent is upon us. We will gather once more around the cross and see our Lord suffering and dying; we will hear once more His Words spoken to us; we will see the place that was reserved for us, taken by Him. And on the other side of Lent, we will see the glory of our Lord burst forth from the tomb, shining brightly for the entire world to see. That is our answer to the surprise attacks of the devil: the surprise that Jesus does not stay dead, but that He rises and claims victory over sin, death and the grave.
Lent and sin and sadness come regardless of what the calendar may say; but so too does the glory of Easter. The reminders of sin can make the brightest day dark; but the power of Easter can make the darkest day bright.
This Lent, we will once again gather on Wednesday evenings for worship at 7PM beginning with Ash Wednesday on February 22. Our theme for these services this year will be Characters of the Passion. Each week, we will look at the Passion of our Lord through the eyes of someone who was there: Nicodemus, Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, Simon of Cyrene, the Repentant Thief, and the Roman Centurion.
Once again we will also have special devotions available from Lutheran Hour Ministries to help you meditate during this time of Lent.
God Bless! Pastor Schmidt