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Pastor’s Sermon, March 19, 2023

Hope UMC, Pastor’s Sermon March 12, 2023

Pastor’s Sermon, March 5, 2023

Pastor’s Sermon, February 26, 2023

First Sunday of Lent

A Lenten Message

I always hated Lent as a kid.  Because my friends were all giving something up for Lent, I thought I had to give something up for Lent, too.  Although my United Methodist minister never told me to give something up, I always thought this was something Christians were supposed to do for Lent.  I didn’t know why, but you just did it.

So, every Lent, I gave up either candy or ice-cream.  That was hard for a child and youth.  Inevitably, the youth group would go for an ice-cream run during Lent, and I would be left watching all my friends eating ice-cream when I could not.  It was almost unbearable.

Then I grew up.  I realized that United Methodists don’t really give things up for Lent.  We take things on.  Well, what does that mean? 

Well, what is the real meaning of giving something up?  Do you give it up just for the sake of giving something up?  That’s what I did all those years.  I just gave something up and never thought of the sacrifice that I was making.  I never thought of my small sacrifice as being a way to understand Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross.  I never made the leap to understand my small sacrifice with Christ’s loving sacrifice for us.  I just simply gave something up, plain and simple.

So when I got to seminary and learned to take something on, a whole new understanding flooded my being.  If I give something up, I should fill it by taking something on – like an act of kindness each day.  These can be simple acts like phone calls or cards or even prayers.  Think what would happen if you prayed for a different person of the church each day.  Take something on – that is what Lent is about.

You see no one expected that God would become human and identify with us, but that is the message of Lent.  God came to be with us.  God is love and love bears all things.

So why do we celebrate Lent at all?  Because we need to be reminded again and again that God loves us and that we are called to love one another.  We need to be reminded to take on an act of love for each other.  Giving something up no longer fits the bill.  Taking something on is the true message of Lent.

I invite you to a Lenten observance, not as an obligation but as an opportunity, an opportunity to be renewed in your understanding of how God works, entering into our situation and overcoming, and an opportunity to be renewed in your commitment to be more and more like the God you’re coming to know in Christ.

Lenten blessings!!


Pastor’s Sermon, February 22, 2023

Ash Wednesday