Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and
Lent began last night with Ash Wednesday. This begins a yearly 40-day season of reflection and repentance in the Church. An intentional period of time to reflect is essential to discipleship and our faith. I was fortunate to have just such a time this past week in Arkansas. Our denomination offers a retreat for "mid-career" pastors based on a program by the Episcopalians, called CREDO. I spent a week of continuing education with 30 other Presbyterian pastors and eight faculty at Ferncliff Camp & Conference Center taking classes and meeting with a small group and various faculty members. I'm incredibly grateful for the support I received to go and learn there.
One of our areas of focus was especially relevant for us given the season. We studied spiritual practices and worshipped together each day. Hearing new ideas from our adviser and from other pastors was valuable to enriching my own faith life. I now have some ideas for things I want to try for Lent.
I hope that as we enter Lent, you'll consider not just things you want to give up, but new practices to add or try for these 40 days. At JCPC, we have personal devotional guides and ones for families. You can try a new prayer practice. You can join us tomorrow night for a one hour shift in the chapel or walk the labyrinth downstairs in the Youth Garage. You can write an email or a real letter of encouragement to family or friends each day or each week. Try something new this year that connects you to your faith and your faith family.