The changing of the guard is always hard;
whether it be in civilian, religious, or military life.
It is to ourselves that we must first show mercy.
At the retreat center where I work, we are getting a new “gatekeeper.” This is the main security person who works at the front gate. He decides who comes in and who does not. The older one has been here for twelve years; and he has decided it was time to retire. I remember the time when my younger brother retired from his post at the Air Force military place, where he was serving. They had a really nice dinner, and people were invited to comment about his service. I also remember my dad being in a parade, when I was a young kid. He wore his full Navy uniform with the hat. He looked sharp! Both my dad and my brother have hung up their full military dress uniform for the civilian way of life. I also remember my brother's graduation from the Air Force Academy. That was another “changing of the guard.” People also mark their changing of the guard in various ways. Some can be formal or informal, depending on the preference of the organization.
Lent Happens when the days begin to lengthen or have more daylight.
Lent is the span of time in the church calendar that starts with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. Ash Wednesday commemorates the beginning of Jesus’ 40-day fasting and temptation in the desert, and Easter Sunday commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the grave after his crucifixion.
Some Lenten practices can include Ash Wednesday, where some “Christians mark their forehead with ash as sorrow and mourning over their sin; Special or additional worship services, “which focus on various ways on man's need for repentance.” Some Christians also choose to “give up a habit or behavior during Lent. This observance could be anything from giving up chocolate to fasting.
Some Christians commit to a special devotional activity, such as Scripture reading, regular prayer through the Lenten Season, or perhaps through some volunteer work. If one Lenten practice does not work for you, you can always choose something else in the Lenten observance. The spiritual focus needs to be on Jesus during this time of prayerful fasting.
From the Bible Gateway website, paraphrased.
I had to turn away from the old and make room for the new in an experience I had at our church. While it is never easy to adapt to something better; I felt God nudging me gently to let it go. I consider Lent to be a season of turnings and letting goes. I am learning how to deal with letting things happen in God's time; and not be screaming, “But I am not ready for the next best thing!”
Our church has been going through one of its spiritual discernment times. We decided to bring in an interim minister while we were making decisions on a more permanent pastor.
The congregation had grown used to the interim minister. Now, it is time to move on in another direction. The incoming pastor has already made an inaugural sermon.
I have hope for our congregation's future. God is always constantly changing, moving forward, as a wise lady told me one time when I had requested prayer. Sometimes, being human, I feel God is moving way too fast. That is when I need to slow down, take a deep breath, and try be glad of the new growth our church is going through. Church is not just made up of one person only, it is a whole lot of people.
“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.”
Wow! With all these comings and goings, it can seem like the church is never in a be still mode. Growth and development are taking place in God's universal church all the time! God is the only constant. His church will be ok. We are all seeking the same path, differently, towards one of Heaven. Think about it, if there is no growth, change, and development currently going on in your own church; what is the worst that can happen?
While transitions in the Winter time, can seem to be unpleasant; I am already looking for the arrival of Spring.
May you experience Lent in a radically different and unusual way, out of your normal comfort zone.
Get ready! Be ready! God is going to turn up the volume!
Peace be unto you
With God's ever abiding love and hope,
"The Loving God"
By Marci McGowan
Written in December 24, 2004
People wage war
They do Peace
still, God sets his table
God sets his table
Still, God sets his table
God sets his table with Love
Bible Verses are taken from The Message Bible