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pastors note

Pastor's Note

Comments from Pastor, David Spaulding

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David Spaulding
Pastor David and Jeanne Spaulding
Greetings,
Lent begins February 14. We enter the season through the Ash Wednesday call "in the name of the church, to observe a holy Lent: by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's Holy Word" (The United Methodist Book of Worship. Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 1992). As we contemplate the method of Lent, even the spiritually mature among us become aware of how out of step we are with where we are called to be. We all have work to do.

"Rehab" is a word that can refer to many different things. Just a quick glance through the Wikipedia article on rehabilitation, or "rehab," points to issues ranging from health (cognitive rehab, wildlife rehab, drug rehab, occupational rehab, physical rehab, psychiatric rehab, vision rehab, vocational rehab) to politics (restoration of disgraced politicians) to home improvement (Rehab Addict!).

In general, the word rehabilitate means to restore to a condition of good health, ability to work; to restore to good condition or operation; or to restore a person's reputation

There is much to mine from considering our Lenten journey this year within the frame of rehab, much to explore, much to learn. But the core of the learning in rehab, like the core of the learning in Lent, isn't cognitive. It's behavioral. In rehab, we learn how to live differently, to set a "new normal" for ourselves and our relationships after a period of time or perhaps a crisis has made it clear to us it is impossible to live as we had before. Likewise, in Lent, we focus on helping those coming to faith in Christ for the first time, as well as those making their way back to Christ and the fellowship of the church after a period of absence or neglect, primarily in concrete, behavioral ways. Our goal for all who engage this period of time is that the way of Jesus becomes either the "new normal," or, for those who have been consistent in the journey over time, is strengthened as our normal.

On each Sunday of this journey, the Scriptures provide the core guidance for the work of the week to come in our own lives and with others in midweek formation groups. We begin on Ash Wednesday by recognizing the limits placed on us by our mortality and the depths of our sinfulness. On Lent 1, we acknowledge we are entering a wilderness, uncharted and perhaps un-chartable territory for us. On Lent 2, we become aware of the degree to which we need intervention and help beyond ourselves, and we identify how we can access it and start doing so. On Lent 3, we encounter the specifics of the kind of program that can keep us moving forward and learning this new normal, if we stick with it. On Lent 4, we address the sense of progress (and lack of progress) that comes with beginning to make some recovery. And on Lent 5, we remember with gratitude and hope the promise of healing and wholeness that awaits us as we continue to persevere, even in the face of challenging circumstances. It is with that sense of gratitude and hope of a journey well-begun that we enter Holy Week. All of what has come before has prepared us to walk through this final leg of the journey with Christ and his church, through his suffering, execution, death, burial… and finally, after all of that, his resurrection. " (GBOD.org) We will be aligning the Tuesday Pastor's Bible Study with the themes for each Sunday in Lent to help us more deeply embrace our journey.

On Easter, we find the exclamation that, "Christ is Risen, Christ is risen indeed!" resonates through our very being now and forever, for us and all everywhere who do and will believe.

Blessings, See you in Church!
Pastor Dave