On Tuesdays, our church sends out an email newsletter. Each week I write a short summary of the past Sunday's theme and message. This past Sunday was the First Sunday in Lent, and we read three passages of Scripture: Genesis 3:1-21, Romans 5:12-19, and Matthew 4:1-11. While it's entirely too short (isn't everything?), here's what I shared with the congregation I serve in today's newsletter.
I love the word behold. It's an archaic word, one that not many people use anymore. It's sounds quaint, old-fashioned. But it's a great word. Most people will say "look" nowadays, and it's really the same word. It's the Greek word ἰδοὺ, which really means "look!" or "pay attention!". Behold!
Yesterday I shared some words from a pastor who wrote a poetic reflection on what Lent is. The last thought was this:
Not a very happy time,
But it is what
You have to go through
To get to Easter.
I ran across an article a couple days ago that had some good reflections on Lent. It's worth reading in its own right, but what really stuck with me were these words:
The Second Season :: Rev. Wayne Saffron
Forty days till Easter,
Not counting Sundays.
We're often tempted to make everything about us. (Or is that just me?) There are so many times in our lives when we think things are about us, but they're really not. Maybe you had an interaction recently where someone responded in a way that you thought was odd. Chances are pretty good that they were dealing with or thinking about something in their own lives, and they reacted oddly to you, but they didn't think you were odd.
The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. In ancient times, people would physically show their repentance by sitting in sackcloth—a rough, burlap-like fabric—and ashes. It was a way to demonstrate to others that you were really sorry for a wrongdoing of some kind.
As a "side" project, TheResonant suffers from being to the side of many other areas of life: my pastoral call, family, and other volunteer projects. When something has to give, this is one of the first things. But that's no way to build momentum and a worthwhile project. So I'm embarking on a new project for the season of Lent this year: a sort of reverse idea of "giving something up".
I wrote a piece for our national church's magazine, The Canadian Lutheran, entitled Canada Today: Understanding the Times. It takes a quick look at some recent statistics about the exercise of Christianity in Canada, and reflects on God's Word to help us understand how to engage with our culture that is moving further and further away from Biblical belief and practice.
I came across this article recently. It struck me while I read it (and it's worth a read for all who are seeking to be cultural exegetes) that, for the Christian, the answer to the primary question of the article —"Something is stopping us from creating the families we claim to desire. But what?"—is stunningly simple: removing Yahweh from the equation.
I’m more than a bit of a grammar nerd. I’m fascinated by the way language is constructed, by the way words convey meaning and the ways they relate to each other. I’m such a grammar nerd that I have a whole argument laid out in my head (soon to be committed to this site) about why prepositions are the most important category of words. As I’ve begun to learn the original Biblical languages over the past number of years, I’m fascinated by them, too.