Welcome to Lent!
February 24, 2023
in Pastor's Weekly Message
This is our first Sunday in Lent. Lent began with Ash Wednesday this week and continues until Easter Sunday. It’s 40 days, plus Sundays. This season, we invite you to read through the Gospel of John together. Each day is about half of a chapter, and we will read through the entire book by a week after Easter. Then on Sundays, we will read some of the powerful conversations that Jesus had with individuals as he was here on earth.
Who are those people you can talk with about anything?
My great-aunt Joann and I hit it off from the first time we met. She took me to dinner in college, and we talked for hours. We felt an instant bond that strengthened over the years. We could talk about anything—about church and life, about family and baseball (Cardinals and Cubs, in case you wonder), about struggles with life in general. She was a sounding board for my sermons the summer I lived with her, and she watched the budding relationship develop with my now-husband, listening to my questions and concerns about love.
Have you had someone like that? Someone you could talk to about anything? Someone who would hear your struggles and celebrate with your joys?
Others come to mind in my life. Bruce, who taught me all I know about video editing and shared my disappointments and my celebrations as I was being ordained. Jen who looked across the courtyard to see if my light was still on before she called me at 2 in the morning in college. Since then, we have lived together, Spring Break-ed in two different states together, stood up for each other when we got married, shared parenting woes, and share ministry challenges. While we don’t talk to one another often, when we do, the years melt away and we go directly to those deep conversations born out of trust and love and mutual respect. I could go on and on.
Heart-to-heart conversations can be life-giving. Talks in the car with your kids or spouse. Phone calls that last for hours. Facetimes with the ones we love.
The stories we will read this Lenten season in worship share some of the heart-to-heart conversations that Jesus had with others on his journey. It’s the devil in the wilderness. Nicodemus who comes at night. The woman at the well. The man born blind. The sisters whose brother had just died. They came to Jesus seeking answers to their deepest questions, making claims about faith, or wondering who he is. In each encounter, Jesus engages, challenges, and exhorts. In each encounter, we can learn about God and Jesus and our own lives.
Today, I invite you to make some time for a good heart-to-heart with someone you love. I invite you to make time for someone who comes to you with their own questions or challenges. I invite you to consider who has impacted your own life and reach out to them if you can.
Then come to worship as we look at the first conversation—when the devil offered more than one man could ever want.
See you Sunday.
- 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care (except fifth Sundays)
- 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website
To access our livestream service:
- From the main menu on our website click “Worship.” -OR-
- Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.