Dear Hope Family,
We will gather this week on February 14th at 6pm to worship, receive the sign of the cross, and mark, in earnest, our journey to the cross on Good Friday and the empty tomb on Easter morning. This journey is known as Lent, and it is a time of examination and renewal, a time of preparation and anticipation, a time of intentional sanctification and relinquishing our feeble and at times frustrated gestures towards growth in grace to Christ, “whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
I invite you to join me on the journey. And, like most of my life, I usually have to preface such undertakings with a litany of disclaimers, and, for today, I will venture just one: I stink at this sort of stuff. I feel, rather acutely, how poor I am at the discipline of – under grace – putting off sin and putting on holiness. I know that in the thick of March the Lenten commitments and resolve from February will wear embarrassingly and convictingly thin.
I regularly pull out a quotation from Thomas Boston, a preacher from many generations ago, that has helped me refocus upon the purpose of Lent and the truly comforting, celebration-worthy promises of Easter. He writes:
“I found it was no easy thing to part with sin, and the impression on my spirit was that of my utter inability to put away sin. And I think I never had a more solid sense of the absolute need of Christ for sanctification. I saw that it was as easy for a rock to lift itself as for me to raise my heart to holiness.”
I am praying for myself and for us a congregation that we will not only have a “solid sense of the absolute need of Christ for sanctification” but that we will revel in the truth that Jesus fulfills that need with nothing less than his resurrection power!
Grace and peace,