Dear Friends,

On Ash Wednesday, the liturgy includes these words said by the priest: “I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent.”

As I said in my Ash Wednesday sermon, “Popular misconceptions aside, we are not invited to keep a miserable Lent or a guilt-ridden Lent or a gloomy Lent or even a wretched Lent, but a holy Lent. And holy simply means ‘set apart for God.’ You, in all your imperfections, have been set apart for God. Because God loves you. And in the same way, we are invited to set apart some time for God. Through prayer, worship, reading, whatever your particular Lenten devotion may be. Whatever allows you to set apart some time to spend with God.”

Here at Bethesda, we have a number of opportunities to spend time with God this season, and I encourage you to find what works for you to draw you closer to the heart of Jesus. It may mean being more intentional about joining us for worship on Sunday morning, or attending our informal 12:05 pm Wednesday service, followed by an optional soup lunch. It may include signing up for our Lenten retreat on March 18, or being inspired by the saints of Lent Madness. It may be making time to sit in the empty church to pray, or joining one of our Bible studies. It may mean attending our Sunday forum on the Baptismal covenant, or trying out our Wednesday evening Middle Way programs.

There is no single right way to observe a holy Lent. But I encourage you to choose a practice — especially if it’s outside your comfort zone — and embrace this season. I guarantee you will emerge transformed in your relationship with Jesus Christ.



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