Hopewell Presbyterian Church of Franklin, Indiana
email@example.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
Grace & Peace,
1. Chaplain Mike Mercer, Church Year Spirituality, Nov. 15