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Message From Pastor Leon

posted Mar 26, 2017, 9:40 AM by Tracey Morris

We began the season of Lent on March 1st with our traditional Ash Wednesday service and the imposition of ashes. Everyone came forward to have ashes put onto their forehead as a symbol of our future state. Along with the ashes, we heard these words from the first pages of the Bible, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). The ashes on the forehead are a graphic reminder of the most significant and certain fact of life, which is that life will end.

William Willimon is now one of the top preachers in the country. Fifty years ago he was in basic training for the Army ROTC. Here is what he says now about that experience: “They took a group of us college boys over to Fort Bragg for summer camp. The first day, they marched us in and shaved our heads down to the skin. They couldn’t do much worse to a 20 year old in the 1960’s. Then they made us strip down and paraded us around naked for three hours of examinations. It was humiliating and pointless, I first thought. Then I got to know more about the Army. Turns out, they had worked with college boys before. They knew that we were smart, self-confident, arrogant, and independent, and the Army knows that people like that don’t make good soldiers. So what they do is they strip you of your individual pride, wrench from you all that you were holding on to, and then they make you shut-up and fall into line. You find out that you aren’t so self-sufficient, but that you have to cling to your platoon and rely on your buddies to survive. It works.”

Life, says Willimon, is like Army basic training. Life has a way of shaving your head and stripping you naked, so to speak. It has a way of showing you that you need to rely on something greater than yourself. Life has its way of breaking through your pride and your self-sufficiency.

Self-reliance is a good thing in life’s secondary concerns. We should want to pay our own bills, for example. But in life’s biggest things, like the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting, self-reliance will get us nowhere, because that ‘self’ which we must rely on, will, in just a few years, be dust and ashes. Only the power and the grace of God will be able to bring anything out of that; or, as we Christians say as we bury our dead: “Out of the dust you are taken, unto the dust you shall return, and out of the dust you shall rise again.” That is the message of Easter which we will celebrate April 16th.

At the beginning of Lent, Ash Wednesday reminds us that we are but dust and ashes. The season of Lent ends on Easter Sunday with the celebration of Christ's resurrection from the dead, and the promise that, believing in Him, we too will rise out of the dust and ashes to live eternally with him.

At our Maundy Thursday and Good Friday worship services (7:00) we will remember the sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. On Easter Sunday we will worship Christ as the risen Lord, and his victory over the grave. Join us for worship.

"He is Risen!"

"He is Risen, indeed!"

Pastor Leon