Lenten Letter from the Pastor
Tradition gives us a place to stand, it doesn’t anchor us to it. Tradition serves as a starting point. Tradition is constantly evolving As the generations following it add their flavor & understanding to it.” unknown
(Well unknown to me, I have this quote taped to my desk, so I know I’ve read it in the past two years & I failed to acknowledge the author.)
How to approach the season of Lent with all of the amazing, mysterious traditions and experiences is a question I ask every year. How do God’s people make Lent relevant in 2018? It gets harder and harder to connect the liturgical seasons of the church to a world that seems to be running as fast as two legs can carry one away from tradition — away from shared worship experiences that express our faith — away from the pathway of knowledge that passes onto our children the knowing of being in relationship with the ever present, ever blessing, ever forgiving, ever Eternal God.
Every year this 40 day season, (not counting Sundays) begins on Ash Wednesday and finishes on Easter. Ash Wednesday is a different date every year because Easter is a different Sunday every year. It would be so much easier to plan and prepare if Easter had a consistent celebration Sunday — but it does not. Adding to the confusion, Ash Wednesday this year it is February 14th… Valentine’s Day, a day that commemorates the all consuming power of love. So just what does a pastor do with that little tidbit of coincidence?
How do we as God’s people approach Lent, define Lent, practice Lent, and live Lent? How do we as a people take these ashes and wear these sackcloths and make them part of our story right now? Our story…, this is how God’s people approach the season of Lent, we tell our story. This year at CUMC we are will be sharing the story on many different levels. Through children’s eyes, through music, through film, through Bible study…prayerfully, we will return to God with the wonder and awe of a child who first hears the story of God’s great love in Jesus. Might we dare allow ourselves to renew and strengthen our faith as our sins are forgiven? How can we live life empowered again to serve with acts of justice, deeds of kindness and acts of love? What would it look like if we experienced the newness of being forgiven for the first time?
So let’s begin in the beginning… “Once upon a time,” God created a people— and God loved the people, but over time the people forgot God who created them and loved them. The people turned away from God and consumed power and earthly treasures. The people forgot from where they had come. God’s love was so powerful, that God created a way for the people to return to God. His name is Jesus. God’s own Son who came to be with God’s people. And come Jesus did, into the world, and into our hearts. To walk and talk with the people — to teach and show the way to live. Jesus gave his life for God’s people, so all might be saved and receive eternity. This is not “The End” of our story! Each Lent is an opportunity for a new beginning in our life.
You are invited to all the amazing and mysterious traditions and experiences that Lent 2018 has to offer. Your are invited to turn back to God — who created you, who loves you beyond your imagination. You are invited to proclaim that Jesus is the way to life and to give your heart to him.
Reverend Tracy Cox
Reverend Tracy Cox received her Masters of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. Her Bachelors Degree is from the University of South Carolina in Advertising/Public Relations.
She joins us after previous charges in Blooming Valley, Ingomar and New Brighton Churches.
She is married to the Reverend Gregory Cox, and they have three daughters: Sarah, Rebekah and Elizabeth. Oh, and the family is owned by a gray tabby named Oscar and a dog named Duke.
Mashed potatoes are her favorite food.
- She LOVES the Pirates (and all of our black and gold teams), Duke Basketball, USC football and baseball.
- She loves watching movies with her family and talking about their theological relevance.
- She loves history!
- She LOVES celebrating her birthday (July 16).
"Life is for service. We human beings are meant to be helpers. In fact, the greatest thing we can do in life is to help our neighbors come to know that they are loveable and capable of loving. Anyone who truly knows this will not lose hope." ~ Fred Rogers