SUNDAY, MARCH 10
2 Corinthians 3:12 – 4:2
Ash Wednesday: March 6
2 Corinthians 5:20 – 6:10
Matthew 6:1-6 – 16-21
First Sunday in Lent
I am sad that we did not meet for worship, this Sunday. No matter which Sunday we miss, I wouldn’t like it. Missing this one leads to a few challenging choices.
March 3rd was Transfiguration Sunday, and it marks the transition into the season of Lent. Lent begins this week, between our pancake supper on Tuesday and our Ash Wednesday service. But I am inclined to go ahead with an observance of Transfiguration Sunday on March 10th, because I feel it’s important to see Christ in the light of his glory, and ourselves as little lights reflecting his glory, before we begin the Lenten trek toward the Cross... and Easter, which follows.
(Spoiler alert: ) If we had met for worship yesterday, I intended to lead the children and the congregation in singing ‘This Little Light of Mine’ during the Children’s Message. Since we didn’t meet on March 3rd, we will probably sing it next Sunday instead. And it seems that Rev. John Edgerton, Associate Pastor at Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts, was thinking something similar. Here is his StillSpeaking Daily Devotional piece, published on Sunday morning:
Moses came down from Mount Sinai.
As he came down from the mountain with
the two tablets of the covenant in his hand,
Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses.
And the skin of his face was shining,
and they were afraid to come near him.
– Exodus 34:29-30
‘This Little Light of Mine’ can be a little bit like cotton candy. Sweet and fluffy and perfectly nice... in small quantities. But when one's daughter requests the [world-famous recording artist known for children’s music] Raffi version for the 12th time in row? One could be forgiven for pining for the days a cassette could be flung out the window of a moving car.
But ‘This Little Light of Mine’ was not always kids' stuff.
In the hands of Fannie Lou Hamer, ‘This Little Light of Mine’ was a rallying cry, a battle flag flying in the winds of the Civil Rights movement. She organized, marched and fought for voting rights—all with songs on her lips and scripture in her heart. She let her light shine.
And because she let her light shine, Fannie Lou Hamer was threatened, harassed, and shot at.
Because here's the thing. When someone lets the light of God shine through them, it can make people afraid. The Israelites were afraid when they saw Moses' face shining— even though it was the light of God. And people were afraid when they saw Fannie Lou Hamer's light shining— even though it was the light of God.
Go ahead and sing ‘This Little Light of Mine.’ Just please know, if you sing it like Fannie Lou Hamer, it can be the beginning of holy trouble.
Prayer: God give me the courage to be a vessel for Your light, a channel for Your grace, a laborer in the vineyard of Your peaceable Realm.
Read StillSpeaking Daily Devotionals for free:
I find it fitting that Rev. Edgerton combines the theme of ‘the light of God’ with the theme of ‘holy trouble,’ because that’s where we are in our church year: the brilliant light of the transfigured Christ goes with us down into the valley of the shadow of death and to the wilderness, for the season called Lent which begins this week.
Lent is based on Jesus Christ’s time in the wilderness, forty days of fasting and struggling against the devil. Before Jesus began his ministry, he was led by the Spirit in the wilderness (Luke 4:1). Like Fannie Lou Hamer and countless Christians through the ages, Jesus demonstrated that God’s way leads through the valley of the shadow to higher ground. Jesus’ example goes counter to the belief of many who try to maintain that Christianity means we never stop smiling and enjoying worldly pleasures. During this holy season, we deliberately deny ourselves to follow Jesus more nearly.
One joy during Lent is fellowship with others who are following Jesus. On Thursdays at Noon, we plan to meet in area churches for prayer.
Another joy during this holy season is that the Sundays are considered “feast days.” So we will also meet in area churches on Sunday evenings for simple meals and programs distinctive to each congregation.
... the same Lord is Lord of all
and is generous to all who call on Him.
- Romans 10:12