From The Pastor At St. Paul's UCC, Freeburg, IL

Ash Wednesday

Our Ash Wednesday service is coming up this evening, and I’m looking forward to it. Jeannie Stumpf and the Worship Environment team have done a terrific job on the sanctuary decor. But even more than what’s seen and heard, I’m looking forward to the silence of these Wednesday evening services. Being together with others in the Peace, in the Quiet. The candlelight, the acoustic music, the silence – what’s not to like?

This year I’ll be inviting people to join me in fasting during Lent. I intend to keep a Biblical fast (no food or liquid, sun-up to sun-down, Tuesdays and Fridays), which I’ve never done before. In some ways it won’t be hard – I’ve abstained from food for long periods before. But I’ve not abstained from liquids, and I’ve not abstained in a way that will interrupt my normal schedule (to eat before sun-up will mean getting up earlier; to eat after sun-down will affect 7:00 meetings!) But I want something that will interrupt my normal schedule. I want something that reminds me of my hunger and thirst for God. It seems to me that this hunger and thirst has become nothing more than a metaphor, a cliche, without experiential meaning especially for us North American middle class folks. When was the last time I was truly hungry? And for what?

If you’d like to join me in fasting this Lent, I’ll point you to this article (which will also be available in our narthex) that talks about Biblical fasting.

And whether you fast or not, I hope you’ll join me in hungering and thirsting for the righteousness that only Christ can give.

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