Dear Friends in Christ:
We are at the end of the season after Epiphany. The focus has been on the serial revelation of who Jesus is and what he means for the future of the human race. Most of this has come through his early ministry and his teachings. Now, the best earthly vision is afforded us on Transfiguration Sunday which is March 3 this year. Then we move to Lent.
I feel sorry for churches that do not follow the liturgical year. They usually stuck on whatever the preacher wants to talk about again and again, or on some march through obscure books of the Bible—the fifth of our seven part series on the book of Ezra. But every week we get a fresh look at Jesus and his deeds in the Gospel text, and an epistle text that develops at least one of the themes of the Gospel text, and an Old Testament reading and psalm to boot. We do not set this up on our own. Part of our participation in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church is our use of the lectionary in common with Roman Catholics and mainstream Protestants.
As we move into Lent, the focus moves to the cross. The necessity of the cross, the inevitability of the cross, the chosen nature of the cross, the road to the cross, the temptations to avoid the cross, etc. In the background of the cross is the fallen nature of sinful human beings—a fallen nature which makes the cross the only way forward.
Lent starts with Ash Wednesday where we begin the journey of repentance with the recognition that our short term future is death. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” When death finally takes us, we can complain and protest all we want, but we cannot say it is undeserved. I have earned it, and so have you.
Yours in Christ,
John S. McKenzie
of Stewart Manor
St. James Lutheran Church of Stewart Manor | 116 Elton Road, Stewart Manor, NY 11530 | 516-352-4099
St. James Lutheran Church