We at Lenten Journey would like to extend you this invitation to join us on a spiritual pilgrimage through the sacred season of Lent. Our pathway takes us along the course of discipleship as we follow Jesus to the cross and into the grave. Make no mistake; it is a demanding and challenging adventure. For centuries Christians have observed the season by:
- entering into an intensified study of the Scriptures
- increasing time spent in prayer and fasting
- with more intentional acts of compassion and charity
- adopting a renewed awareness of our need for both personal and corporate humility and repentance.
Indeed, the Lenten Journey is a demanding and challenging adventure, but there is no need to fear. You have many companions along the way. Our course is familiar, well-traveled and well-marked. Followers of Jesus have traveled together along this adventure since the early fourth century. Lent is a season that calls the church from among the varied denominations, cultures and histories of our world to enter our common story, and take our place following behind our common Lord. Above all else, the travelers along this voyage can be assured that our Guide is trustworthy and reliable.
The journey begins Wednesday, March 9th and continues for the next forty days leading up to Holy week and Easter. Sundays are excluded from the forty day count because they are a day of rest and celebration. The forty days that make up the heart of our Lenten Journey are significant because they're intended to resemble the time Jesus spent in the wilderness (Mark 1:12-13) in preparation for his ministry to our world. Jesus' preparation for ministry becomes a key element in our own preparation for spiritual development and growth in ministry.
The word, 'lent' comes from the Old Saxon word for 'spring' which conjures up appropriate images of planting, restoration, revival and renewal. Spring provides opportunity to prepare for rebirth, growth and maturity. Lent is a season of preparation. We hope to be a helpful companion to you as we accompany each other along this pilgrimage of faith.
In the third chapter of his letter to the Philippians the Apostle Paul gives voice to a deep hunger within. He writes, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead." Paul is not alone in his desire to know Christ, to participate in his life, to experience his power, and to realize his resurrection. This desire for close, personal, intimate relationship with Jesus is what drives the church to follow her Messiah all the more closely through the days leading up to Easter. Jesus said, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me," Matthew 16:24. Lenten Journey offers us the opportunity to join with each other in following the one who denied himself and shouldered his cross all the way to Calvary.
Almighty and everlasting God,
You breathed into the dust of earth the very breath of life and created us for close, personal, intimate fellowship with you. In our sinfulness and weakness we broke that fellowship and set out on our own path - a path that leads to emptiness, unfulfillment and death. But you brought about our full redemption through Your Son, Our Savior, Jesus the Christ. In love he restored us to fellowship with you. Assist us who struggle with sin and weakness, by your grace, to follow you in close proximity in these days and months to come that we may know you in the power of your resurrection, and in the intimate sharing of your sufferings so that we might become like you in your death in order to receive from you the resurrection to eternal life we pray in Jesus name - Amen.
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