We Need Lent Now More Than Ever // M-Note 2.12.2021

Next week is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. For some of you, this season means Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday always precedes Ash Wednesday and has religious roots). For St. Louisans, Lent marks the beginning of fish fry season. For others, it is a vaguely familiar time when some people come to work with those weird smudges on their forehead. But for Christians, Ash Wednesday is a time to remember our sin and mortality. Somber, yes. But, an important acknowledgement in the road toward fully understanding and experiencing the forgiveness offered in Jesus death and the new life offered in the resurrection. Good Friday and Easter Sunday begin with acknowledging our sin, the reality of death, and our need for a savior. This acknowledgment is what Ash Wednesday is all about.
 
But, it doesn’t end there. Ash Wednesday is an invitation into a season, a journey towards the cross and empty tomb. For 40 days, Christians are asked to renounce certain worldly things (think meat on Friday, chocolate or whatever else people give up for Lent), so that they can set aside time for prayer, contemplation, and a renewed relationship with God. This journey finds its climax in the events of Holy Week, and the ultimate destination is the good news of Easter. I think this year especially, this journey takes on new meaning. Mortality is not theoretical – we’ve seen it. The power of death cannot be ignored. Our need for a rescuer is palpable.
 
That is why we need Lent. That is why I want to offer you the invitation to journey with us here at The Gathering through this season. On Ash Wednesday, we will have a powerful online worship experience. It will be livestreamed at 7AM and 7PM. You can find it on our website or wherever you watch Sunday worship. Additionally, we have a daily Lenten devotional that you can subscribe to through our app or website. The devotional will offer you a scripture, reflection, and short prayer to practice every day of Lent.
 
I encourage you to join us for worship on Ash Wednesday and sign up now for the devotional. These small practices can have a big impact on our relationship with God, especially if you are in need of reconnecting with God or the church in light of the past year.
 
Before I go, please stay connected and read your mNote. Next week, I am going to share The Gathering’s Easter plans (you will want to hear it!), as well as plans for in person worship. I know many of you are eager to know what the next few months will hold.
 
This weekend, we will continue our series on work called Essential. We will be talking about the difference between a call and a job. Don’t forget it is Valentine’s Day Sunday, and my advice is do something thoughtful for the person you love – and do it first thing in the morning! Have a great weekend, and I will see you Sunday.
 
Peace,
 
Matt
 
P.S. This week on my podcast The F Word: Conversations on Faith I am talking to Richard Boswell, an excellent marriage therapist. We are talking all about healthy relationships, conflicts, and how to avoid the pitfalls that cause relationships to fail. Whether you are in a committed relationship now, or want to be in one in the future, this conversation will be really helpful. You can listen to the episode Sunday afternoon by subscribing to the podcast here. Or listen live on The Big 550 KTRS Sunday at 3.

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