Preparing to reflect…

Several months ago I wrote about a precious gift given to me by “Henry”.  The generous gift’s value wasn’t monetary, but sentimental. Unexpected, undeserved, thoughtful gifts like that children’s Bible from Henry sometimes catch us off guard. Every time I notice it sitting on my bookshelf, I can’t help but smile and recall its meaning and significance. In fact, the more I reflect on the gift and the generosity of the giver, the more I’m touched. And, as I reflect on that gift, I can’t help but to think of another undeserved gift I’ve been given.

This gift was given by the Giver Himself. The gift? Grace, mercy and forgiveness. In fact, over the next several weeks, I intend to be spending quite a bit of time reflecting on just how much I need that gift of grace in my own life. In fact, I hope these next forty days, starting on Wednesday the 9th, will be an amazing time of soul growth and renewal – not only for myself, but for many of you as well. You may be wondering what’s so significant about Wednesday, March 9th. That particular day, known as Ash Wednesday, is the first day of Lent – a season 40 days in length that leads to Easter.

My life is pretty busy, and all too often it seems time just slips by almost unnoticed. Days fly by, and before I know it, special days arrive without my having taken time to even prepare. That happened last year at Easter. We literally bought eggs on Saturday night, and colored eggs Sunday after church. Where did the time go?

But this year is going to be different. This year, I’m setting aside time to really prepare my heart for that amazing gift of grace, mercy and forgiveness. This year Easter isn’t going to slip by because I’ll take 40 days during Lent to pray, fast, give and prepare. And when Easter arrives, I will be fully ready to completely celebrate its significance and meaning.

What exactly is LENT? It’s really all about –

EXAMINING ourselves
NURTURING our spiritual lives
TAKING time to prepare for Easter.


And it all begins this week on March 9th, on Ash Wednesday. At The Bridge in Glendive MT, we’re having a special worship service on Ash Wednesday to usher in this special season of reflection and renewal. If you’re in the area, we’d love to have you join us – whether you regularly attend church elsewhere on the weekend, or don’t attend church at all. The service will be from 7:00-8:15 PM at 320 E Power Street (on the corner of Sargent & Power on the south side).

If you’re not in the area, let me encourage you to seek out a special Ash Wednesday service where you live.  Or, plan a special devotional time in your home.  And then consider how you might also celebrate Lent this year.  Not as a ritual.  Not as a means to gain salvation.  But as a meaningful time of reflection and preparation for the most significant event in the history of the world – the resurrection of Christ!  Don’t let this Easter season sneak up on you – make a commitment today to prepare your heart for the amazing gift the Giver has given!

(A variation of this post originally appeared in the Glendive Ranger Review, March 6, 2011.)