Arthur’s February Letter

Posted by ajenkins on February 4, 2010 under The Parish | Comments are off for this article

On Wednesday, February 17, 2010, we will enter into one of the most important seasons of the church year—the “40 days” of Lent. The word “Lent” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘lencten’ or spring, the time of year when the days begin to lengthen. Lent is one of the most important seasons of the church year because it is a time of penitence, an introspective period during which we take stock of our lives and our relationships to discover and change what we must to prepare for Easter and experience the spiritual renewal that comes when we engage in this type of activity of faith. So, during Lent we each follow the example of Jesus by sacrificing our own will to the purpose of God. We sacrifice, not to win God’s favor, but to gain the attention of our soul, our body, and our spirit. What will you sacrifice?

During this season one is encouraged to make a special effort in one’s piety and faith life. We often do this as we give up something or add some spiritual discipline. Often what one surrenders is a physical sacrifice, i.e., chocolate, smoking, sugar, over-indulgence of any sort and more. Also, I pray you have heard me invite you to give up something eternal, i.e., gossip, anger, blame, or retribution. You may remember that last year I committed to give up sarcasm. I failed terribly and at the same time I succeeded wonderfully. I fell into my default habit of sarcasm daily, but I was certainly made sensitive to it. Dear God, help!

The spiritual discipline of sacrifice or giving something up for Lent is useful and commendable. This year may I also encourage you to add something to your life, your daily routine for this season. I encourage you to add THE TRIANGLE, THE TRINITY OF LIFE. This year, just for a season to try it out, add the Trinitarian lifestyle, Jesus’ lifestyle of UP, IN, and OUT.


There are several opportunities to live UP with God. Sunday worship, daily prayer, prayer groups, and more are just a few of the ways to live in acknowledgement of God’s authority over your life. In addition to theses opportunities consider joining the group that will focus on “creative worship arts.”  This will be a time for us to explore our creativity and discuss how we can worship God though our artistic gifts, and then practice them!  Come all you who sew, knit, paint, draw, carve, photograph, scrapbook, etc.  The first meeting will be used to decide an appropriate meeting time and what project(s) we will accomplish in this season of lent. Now this may even be fun. Joy.


There also are several opportunities to live IN with fellow disciples. There are Sunday equipping groups, Home Life Groups,


If God is nudging you to add on “reaching out” for your Easter preparation, then join this group. The OUT Group will form to find a place of love and service to our neighbors on Ferguson Road. We don’t have a project for you. We expect that as you join these folks and maybe the Bible Study that Amy Case and Paul Mitchell attend every Tuesday on Ferguson Road, that God will make it evident how Saint James may participate in their life and they in ours. There are lots of ideas. Come and add yours.


Tuesday, February 16, is the final day before the Lenten fast. This day is variously recalled in the celebration of Carnival (“farewell to meat”) that is concluded on “Fat Tuesday” or Mardi Gras, and in Shrove Tuesday’s pancakes (consuming the eggs, milk and fat not allowed during the fasting of Lent). “Shrove” Tuesday refers to the ancient practice of being “shriven” (confessing and receiving absolution) in order to begin and keep a holy Lent. Don’t miss the famous Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper offered by our Men’s Groups. It is terribly hedonistic and indulgent, a fine confrontation to the need of a simpler time such as Lent.

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