On 1 March, we begin Lent. According to Wikipedia, “The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, doing penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self-denial.” I’d like to suggest that for this Lent, we, as members of Grace United Church of Christ, take some time during this season of Lent to pray and to listen for that still small voice of the still speaking God, and what God is calling us to do and be in Lancaster and Fairfield County in 2017 and beyond. Forgive me as I stretch a Biblical metaphor or two to their breaking point, but as Paul said in Romans, Ephesians, and 1 Corinthians (he really did like this image), the church is one body made up of many parts. At various times, I know that God has called me to be a thumb, a kneecap, a vocal cord, and for the second time in eighteen years, you have elected me to be a neuron (did you know that Council President is just a neuron in the body?), to help try to make sense of what the retina is seeing and translate that into how the thumb and fingers turn the steering wheel. Did I mention I was going to stretch a metaphor? We’ve spent the last year, celebrating our 200 year history in Lancaster and it is good to reflect from time to time on where we have been and how we got to where we are, but if we only watch the rearview mirror, we’ll drive the car into a ditch or wrap it around a telephone pole. I (well, we, as council) need your help in deciphering the images from the retina, so we can figure out where God wants us to go next. This is year A of the lectionary, which, as Jeff pointed out a few weeks ago, means we’ll be reading from the Gospel of Matthew a lot this year. In Matthew 28, Jesus gives what is known as the Great Commission, to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Those words kind of make me nervous because I’m an introvert and I don’t personally like to get in people’s faces about Jesus and salvation and all of that stuff. On the other hand, it seems to me that it is much easier to share the Good News when we’ve worked and walked alongside someone for a while and built a relationship. I know there are many needs in the community where we could be working to build those relationships that allow us to share the Good News. So, we need your help. Please take some time over these next six weeks of Lent to pray and listen for what you hear God calling Grace United Church of Christ to do and to be. Then, let me or Pastor Mindy or Howard or Johanna (as your officers) know what you hear, I have a mailbox in the office if you want to leave a note there (anonymously or not) on Sunday morning or you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shalom, Jim Clausing