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Pastor's NewsLetter Column for March 2007
Bill's Bench
As a church we go to the wilderness every year in Lent because the truth is that we live our whole lives in the wilderness. Always, and repeatedly, we move from some bondage or attachment through a time of transition in which we leave our old selves behind and move toward a new life.

The [believers] will always find one sure word in the wilderness, the incarnate Word who travels with us, is tempted just as we are, dies with us on the rise over-looking paradise, and rests His life with ours in the very hands that have formed us all - and will again, over and over and over.

-- Fredrick A. Niedner,
Professor of Theology
Valparaiso University --
     Over the years when we think of Lent, I often think of it as a period of giving something up to show the sincerity of one's commitment to Christ. I remember when working for the Redlands Fire Department during college, one of the men was fixing fish for dinner (he was a newly confirmed Catholic) because he was giving up red meat for Lent.
The piece of fish on the plate looked pretty thick and the officer sitting next to him speared it with his fork and discovered a small filet mignon under it. Naturally Bruce got a pretty hefty ribbing for trying to disguise his dinner.

     However, this year it might be wise to return to the basic meaning of "Lent" ('the lengthening of days') to gain a better appreciation for this rather long period of time. Whether it originally referred to the fact the days were growing longer (more time between sunrise and sunset) or the long period of time the Hebrews and later Jesus spent in the desert isn't really crucial. If we take "lengthening" as encouragement to slow things down, we will be able to actually add something to our lives that could last far longer than the forty days we committed ourselves to subtracting something from our lives. What about a daily quiet time, some time walking (preaching to the choir here!), or just to be aware of each unique moment of day - to be really present for and aware of what God is doing in that very moment.

     We are a congregation in transition: from one pastor to another [permanent pastor - interim pastor - permanent pastor] and from a former way to a new way of doing ministry. The manna that each of us finds in our personal and congregational journey this Lenten season will feed us well in the days ahead in the life of FBC Mountlake Terrace.

   In Christ,
    --Pastor Bill

First Baptist Church
22800 56th Ave. W.
Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043-3922
(425) 778-2046
Last Modified
25 April 2007
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