Ash Wednesday 2021
Another cold, snowy morning. I hope you are somewhere safe and warm this morning. I can’t believe we are already a month and a half into this new year.
This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday—the first day of the season of Lent. I’m not a “high church tradition” kind of person, but as I’ve said before, I do find the practice of preparing for Holy Week during this season a meaningful practice. I encourage practicing Lent not simply giving something up, but I always try to add an intentional spiritual practice during this season as well. It might be reading through a book or spending some extra time in prayer. Last summer you might remember I preached a sermon on some spiritual disciplines. This might be a time to go back and review some of those that I mentioned to see if there’d be one meaningful for you to put into practice. As always, these practices are not an end in themselves, but they are a way to prepare ourselves for a deeper, richer relationship with God.
This coming Sunday during worship time we’ll be focused on John 10 and Jesus’ teaching about being the good shepherd. I encourage you to read through the Scriptures that are included in this E-Gram. I choose those every week to help us all start thinking about the sermon ahead of time. What I’m thinking about today is the way we don’t like to be thought of as sheep. That image has taken on a negative context for us of people who simply follow a leader without thought. Let me encourage you to take a few moments today to imagine yourself as a sheep and Jesus as your shepherd. How would you react to him? What would you need from him? When you think of Jesus as your shepherd, what images or thoughts does that bring to your mind?
I will tell you, if there was a real flock of sheep out in this weather, they would be depending upon their shepherd for their very lives!
I continue to pray for each of you and for our congregation. I believe that God continues to work in us and through us for his purposes. I hope that you are staying safe.
God bless, Brian
Scriptures for this week:
John 10:1-21—What do you most need from our “good shepherd”?
Psalm 23—Read these familiar words slowly. Ask yourself what this teaches you about God? Ezekiel 34:1-24—What is being contrasted between the wicked shepherds and the one shepherd?
Revelation 7:9-17—What do you think is the significance of the image of a Lamb who is also a Shepherd?