Pastor Dan
February 2018

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As I write this message, I am still in the process of "Putting away Christmas." You know, all those things that we have gathered over the years need a proper place. Those things that carry so much meaning, those lovely delicate and not so lovely, nor delicate decorations that we've collected and brought out to add to the Advent and Christmas season need a precious place to rest. The tree, the lights, the manger scenes, the advent candles and all the new gifts need to find a home before their anticipated return for the joy of the next Advent and Christmas season. On top of this, my sister is moving and sent out some "family heirlooms" which she doesn't want to throw out before I get a look at them. With my limited storage space, it seems I either have to create more space, be more efficient with the current space or find another option. I have had two primary questions swirling around my brain (it too has limited storage space) as I pack and place. These two questions are, "Why am I hanging on to this?" and "Do I really need to hang on to this?" Other questions I have had to ask are, "What is this?" and "Where did this come from?"

As the season of Lent quickly approaches, I find that these questions are now applying to my faith journey. I find myself asking, "Why am I hanging on to a sense of "superiority?" We all know that Mount Zion is the only Lutheran congregation that does Church correctly and in so, there is also a sense of humility which goes to the wayside. Of course, I speak in jest and yet, there is an awareness that superiority and a lack of humility do exist and can easily invade the way we think when approaching and engaging with the stranger, the neighbor and the faithful in Christ. I hope that I can shed this sneaky little attitude from my very being so that Christ may truly shine through my words and deeds. But chances are, in being human, these attitudes will require an awareness and honesty to keep them at bay.

As disciples of our Risen and Living Lord, many of us have come to realize that despite our human-ness, our human tendencies and our human ways, the power of God's Holy Spirit at work in us and through us has a power to overcome all obstacles. God is aware of our human-ness and that's why The Almighty has sent His Son and continues to send the Holy Spirit to reveal the Lord's love and redeeming at work in ourselves and in the world. Yes, we are broken vessels. God is aware of this.

The season of Lent is a time to journey with the Lord and with brothers and sisters in Christ to the cross. This Lenten season, Mount Zion will offer opportunities to examine the broken-ness of being a human as we have one foot in the eternal realm of God. These opportunities are not being offered to beat ourselves up and to make us feel worthless and guilty. They are being offered in a way in which we can take inventory of our own personal human tendencies. And in recognizing our own human tendencies, we can ask ourselves, "Do I really need to hang on to this?" We can ask ourselves within the realm of faith, "What is this?" and "Where did this come from?" It is from within the asking of these questions, we can continue to see just how the Lord has been at work in our hearts and how the Lord's love is shaping our souls.

I pray that your Lenten journey is one in which the Lord's divine presence is experienced and formative in your life and in your living.


In Christ's love and service, Pastor Dan

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