Post from Rev. Dr. Buran Phillips

Due to the weather, we believe it is necessary to cancel tonight’s Ash Wednesday Service. Nevertheless, I hope you will use this opportunity to reflect on the beginning of the Lenten Season.   The origins of Lent apparently began as a kind of training time to prepare candidates for their eventual baptism on Easter. It evolved from a two-day fast, through a week-long fast, to a biblical “40 days.”

The emphasis of this period is to affirm and re-affirm our identity as God’s people and as servants of Jesus Christ. In fact, the so-called imposition of the ashes on the forehead was a way of remembering our identity as mortal, finite creatures whose hope is in the resurrection of Christ and the eternal and infinite love of God. John Muntz wrote a wonderful piece about this a few years ago which we still like to use and which I hope has been included.

The theme of our Lenten services this year is “For God So Loved the World.” Each week we will focus our prayers and concerns on a different continent. Tonight we were going to begin with North America, with each successive Wednesday highlighting a different continent, and conclude with a Holy Wednesday Service centered on hope for peace in the Holy Land and the Middle East. On this day let us lift up particularly the people of North America in prayer.

Tonight or sometime throughout the day, set aside some time to read Psalm51:1-17 and then Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21. Do some reflection…then read Isaiah 58:1-12. Think about how the Prophet Isaiah understands the notion of fasting and what it entails about not just our personal morality but God’s vision for the world as well.

The peace of Christ be with all…Buran