Hopewell Presbyterian Church of Franklin, Indiana

bwjolley@gmail.com Cell: 317-833-7749

Pastor's Letter........February 2018

I’ll admit that the cold weather and grey skies can be a bit much for this Georgia Boy and his family, but despite that, February is shaping up to be an exciting month. Thank you for your prayers and patience as I work through the ordination process with the EPC and Presbytery of the Midwest. My oral examination on the 29th went great and was a wonderful, faith-affirming experience. The Candidate Care Committee voted unanimously to affirm my call, enabling me to be examined by Presbytery on February 16 at First Presbyterian Church in Greenville, OH. My floor exam will take place at 4:30 and then I will preach at the 7:00 worship service. My ordination and formal installation at Hopewell will take place on March 4 at 4:00. Stay tuned for details.

Looking ahead to Lent

I have become increasingly convinced at the importance of following the Church calendar. Given that I tend to preach through whole books of the Bible, our sermon text doesn’t always match the Church calendar, but our liturgy and hymns almost always will. Following the church calendar reminds us that we are different. It draws us back to the one true story, our story. Our culture offers a rival story and if we are not careful we can be distracted by it. As Rev. Mike Mercer stated in a blog post on church year spirituality, “it keeps the main thing, the main thing’’. The church calendar is Christ-centered. It is shaped around the events of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension and outpouring of his Spirit. At every turn, we see Jesus, we hear Jesus, and we are called to follow Jesus.1

We have been in the season of Epiphany, a time where we celebrate revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. On the 14th, our focus will shift from the wonder of the stable to the climactic events of the cross. Over the years in Evangelical Protestant circles, there has been much debate over the necessity or usefulness of Lent. To the extent that we use the Lenten season to fix our eyes on Jesus, to examine the depths of our need for a savior and his sufficiency in fulfilling that need, observing Lent can be very helpful.
For many people, Lent is a time of giving something up. Doing so isn’t intended to replicate the sacrificial nature of Christ, but each time you are confronted with the desire for whatever you have resolved to give up, you are reminded of Christ’s sacrifice and strengthened in the knowledge that you have a better possession. Others, myself included, use the Lenten season as a time to be more intentional about prayer and discipleship. There is no shortage of ways to observe Lent and an infinite number of resources to guide you. In the coming weeks, we will be sharing some of those resources with you.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Brandon

1. Chaplain Mike Mercer, Church Year Spirituality, Nov. 15