Dear Church,

Today marks the start of the Lenten season. Each year, we enter into these forty days by “celebrating” Ash Wednesday. Let me back up for a moment, because I know some of you are reading this email and thinking 1. What is Lent? and 2. What is Ash Wednesday? So in this edition of the digital Interpreter, I thought I would take a moment and give a little background on what Lent means for Christians and why we would observe it in the first place.

Lent is a seven-week period that leads up to Easter Sunday. If you go back into church history, we know that first official mention of Lent happened in 325 at the Council of Nicaea. At its heart, Lent is the time where we will journey with Jesus out into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) and then make our way with him to the cross on Good Friday. It is a season of introspection, where we are called to think deeply about how we fall short of God’s glory and how our own sin led Jesus to go to Calvary for redemption of the world. Lent is also a time where we often give something up to intentionally enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus. In my own personal life, I have found that participating in the Lenten journey has helped me to be more dedicated follower of Jesus. I trust that you will find the same thing to be true in your own life.

As I said in the beginning of my letter, Ash Wednesday is the official beginning of the Lenten season. Churches across the world will gather throughout the day and have a service where, at the center of the worship, ashes will be placed on the heads (or hands) of individuals, and each person will hear the words of scripture spoken over their lives, “From the dust you came, and to the dust you shall return”. While I know that doesn’t sound incredibly uplifting, I hope you will trust me when I say that receiving the ashes is always an incredible moment for me when I am reminded, not only of my own mortality, but also to keep my focus on those things that matter most in this world.

Tonight, we will gather at 6:00 in the Storey Chapel to kick off the season of Lent. I hope you will plan to be there.

Also, in this edition of the Interpreter, you can learn more about our new sermon series, our upcoming youth week, and many other things that are happening in the life of our church.

As always, I am proud to be your pastor,