Get used to this phrase, as you’ll be hearing it a lot in the coming weeks! You’ll hear it as we talk about the many activities of Lent. You’ll hear it as we talk about Spring Discipleship and putting our many time & talents to good use. You’ll hear it from the pulpit as well.
It’s been a time-honored tradition in the church to “give something up” for the season of Lent. The history of this points is rooted deep in the practice of fasting and abstinence; a way of self-denial that takes the focus off our own selves and re-orients us to God and the journey of this time of year. However, over many years this tradition has been watered down and misinterpreted. We “give up” things such as chocolate or carbonated drinks; and either one of two things typically happens. We either break that promise at some point in the 40-day journey and feel guilty about it, or we hold strong to our conviction, only to gorge ourselves on Easter.
Neither really captures the essence of the Christian journey – a journey that calls us into community with each other and calls the community to the building-up of the kingdom of God on earth. This kingdom, that we are partners with Jesus in developing, is one where scripture tell us:
“…..the wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together…..” (Isaiah 11:6)
and one where Jesus
“…..will dwell with them, they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21: 3b-4)
This is active work, not passive. This is each person in the community of faith doing their part together to bring about something that is different from what is currently taking place. There simply isn’t a way for Christians to fulfill their calling as followers of Christ if we’re not willing to get our hands dirty.
That’s why the slogan for Lent this year, and for our 2010 Spring Discipleship season, is this: Don’t Give Something Up For Lent – Take Something On! And here’s the challenge: rather than giving up chocolate or soft drinks this Lent, rather than swearing not to swear for 40 days, take a different approach. Take Something On. Look for ways you can actively serve God and, in the process, serve as a witness to the One who changed the world by engaging it directly. And keep this in mind: in the church there is no such thing as “I’ve done my time.” For we never cease being useful to God!
The Discipleship Ministry team wishes to help you in this by linking you with the various ministry teams of our church to get involved. On Dedication Sunday, March 21st, we will have a Take-Something-On church-wide covered-dish lunch after worship. You and your family are invited to attend and join in the fellowship! And at this lunch, each of the sessional ministry teams will have a table where you can sign up for anything and everything to do with the ministry of this great church. Thought about serving a meal at Friends Feeding Friends? You can sign up! Want to put your teaching passion to work as our Christian Education ministry is revamped? You’ll get the chance! And if you absolutely can’t make the lunch, a master list will be posted in the upstairs foyer outside the sanctuary for a few weeks.
We are so excited as we imagine every church member “taking something on” this Lenten season, and throughout the church year. Please prayerfully consider where and how God is calling you to serve – not just in ways that you’ve served before, but especially in new exciting ways. And remember this as we move forward: our faith is not determined by what we “give up,” but by what we “take on” in the name of Christ!
Jennifer Logan and Mike Branch, Co-moderators, Discipleship Ministry Team
Steve Lindsley, Pastor
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