Japan Update: Prayers and Donations Welcome
From the General Council Office of the United Church:
Our hearts reach out to brothers and sisters in Japan as they face what Prime Minister Naoto Kan describes as the most severe crisis since World War II.
For current news updates, visit the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, or the British Broadcasting Corporation sites.
Our immediate response is to wonder what we can do for our brothers and sisters facing this devastation.
To read more follow this link: Japan Update
“Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?”
Isaac Watts in “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross”
Writing the annual Lenten letter (or, hopefully, reading it) is kind of a harbinger of spring – like the first robin. I may be overstating the case, but I’d like to offer hope. Indeed, the season of Lent is a time for hope. Of course, traditionally, it’s a time of repentance, requiring sackcloth and ashes, but always in the light of grace and hope. In truth, I’m not sure that you can actually designate a special time for repentance. It happens when God’s Spirit checks us, shedding light on some particular action, comment or attitude which is harmful. This he does in love and though it may prove humbling, it is also liberating. The point is that we can’t dictate when this needs to happen. It might not happen on Ash Wednesday, but instead on St. Patrick’s Day – or your birthday! God is not really a respecter of our agendas, because he has his own.
If you or I join the CAA, the Squash Club or the Legion we usually try to find out what the benefits of membership are. Often those who ‘sign up’ for following Jesus don’t fully understand the benefits. One of those is that every time we discover something wrong in our lives and admit it, we instantly experience forgiveness and deliverance. This is because of the cross. On it “God made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Sometimes you hear people complain about how unfair life (and by implication God, if he exists) is. How unfair then is this: God, who had no sin, ‘became’ sin so that we might ‘become’ righteousness? We no longer have ownership of our ‘wrongness’, but rather we now own God’s goodness – undeservedly. This is a benefit worth talking about and it gives us tremendous hope.
So it is that as the first Sunday in Lent, March 13th, approaches, we can begin to anticipate spring, expect the conviction of the Holy Spirit and enjoy the gifts of forgiveness and righteousness in Christ. That’s not bad. Does it not make sense that we should also gather on that same day to give thanks to God and remember Jesus’ sacrifice through sharing the loaf and the cup? I think so. Please come.
In Christ’s service,