When you read this, the Super Bowl will be right around the corner. As this is written, the hype has already begun…countless articles in the newspapers and many features on the TV news and sportscasts, all designed to “get us ready” for the big event. That seems to be the trend in our society…a great deal of publicity, enthusiasm and hype about something that, in the grand scheme of things, is of little or no importance.
Even when we focus on something that IS of value and worth, more often than not, we find a way to emphasize the least important aspects of the event or season. The recent “Christmas season” is a good example of what we are able to do to trivialize or commercialize such an important event. The Church’s struggle to focus on the real message of the season is an uphill battle.
In the middle of this month, we begin another of the liturgical seasons that are not given their due in our day to day lives. Ash Wednesday (February 14th) marks the beginning of Lent, which culminates in our celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. All too frequently, we view Lent as simply a period in which there are a few “extra” church services, along with an expectation that we will make some sort of vague commitment to “give something up” for Lent!
I would like to suggest that beginning this year, we make an attempt to use the days of Lent to examine the role our faith (and our church) plays in our daily lives. Is our faith something we take for granted, to be focused on and made central to our lives only in time of need, or on those two “special” days each year? Do we view Lent only as a time when the sermons we hear in church might focus on the last weeks, days and hours of Jesus’ life, or do we see it as an opportunity to examine our lives and our faith?
Please don’t miss this chance to make your faith a more vital and central part of your lives. Use the days of the Lenten season to nurture your faith, and then put that faith to work wherever you go.
Rev. Carl Pelzer
St. Paul United Church of Christ