The season of Lent began this week is the six-week period between Ash Wednesday and Easter. This has traditionally been the season for spiritual practices that prepare Christian believers for a deeper understanding of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus. The word Lent comes from the Old English word lencten, which literally means to lengthen, referring to the lengthening of daylight in the spring. Historically, the church has focused on prayer, fasting, and giving to the poor to gain a deeper appreciation of the suffering Jesus faced in his ministry, especially the events of the last week of his life in Jerusalem.
That week began with his triumphant entry into the Holy City riding on a donkey to demonstrate that his Kingdom was one of love and mercy, not armies and political power. Although his entrance went unnoticed by the religious and political authorities, the ordinary citizens on the street recognized that this famous rabbi was the Messiah and turned out in droves to roll out the red carpet (palm branches and coats) and shout acclamations of praise, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!” In one of the great ironies of history, five days later many of those same voices shouted “Crucify him!” when Pilate offered to free him.
As wonderful as the celebration of Easter is, we will never fully appreciate its deep meaning unless we have traveled with Jesus through the pain and suffering he experienced from the rejection and persecution by his own people. So, I invite you to join me and your sisters and brothers in Christ in spending more time between now and Easter in prayer, Bible study, giving to the poor, and perhaps even giving up something of value. Fasting, especially in the prosperous world we live in, can help us identify with those who do not have enough and gain a greater appreciation of what we have. This spiritual practice can draw us closer to God and one another.
I hope to see you in worship on Sunday. We will celebrate the Sacrament of Communion, and I will preach on Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness after his baptism. May God continue to bless you and yours and make us a blessing to others.
The ACTS group visits the Joel Lane house and Weaver Street Market!
Everyone 55+ is encouraged to join the group on Thursday, March 5 at 9:15 am in the Fellowship Hall to prepare for a short trip to downtown Raleigh to see the historical Joel Lane House and Museum (160 S. St. Mary's St.). Plan to pay Bev the individual $6 admission fee, so one lump payment can be made to the guide. The tour starts at 10:00 am and lasts about 90 minutes. The group will have lunch at Weaver Street Market (400 W Hargett St.), about 2 blocks away. Bonus: you will get a tour of their facilities starting 12 noon. Lunch selections are made from their food bars at $8.99/lb. They invite all seniors to join us as we explore NC! Questions? Call Bev at 919-876-6763.
NEW Efficient Lighting: A heartfelt 'thank you!' to the members of the church's property team for their initiative in replacing the aging fluorescent lighting with LED fixtures. You can see the new lighting in the church office and both restrooms on the Sanctuary side. A big improvement!
You are invited to support Trinity's Preschool at lunch on Sunday, March 15th!
This year we've given 11 bags to families who need food. We're a little low on a few items - if you have the chance, would you bring some jars of applesauce and peanut butter, packages of toilet paper, individual toothbrushes, toothpaste, cans of corn, packages of ramen, and cereal, such as Cheerios, to the church office? Thank you for your support of the church's pantry ministry!