West Chelmsford United Methodist Church
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

I regularly have conversations about all the bad news we hear each day. It is surely discouraging to hear the relentless drumbeat of investigations and accusations in Washington, natural disasters such as snowstorms and tornadoes, and all the rest. I admit that there are times when I just want to stop listening – to change the channel on our TV or just turn it off. I sometimes switch to “something silly” on TV just to have a laugh. Or else I spend time with friends or loved ones, which is the best medicine of all.
As we enter the season of Lent this year we do so in troubled times. Yet perhaps Lent is exactly what we need in these times. Lent had its beginnings as a time of preparing converts for their baptism; baptisms were done just after midnight on Easter morning. Lent was a time of learning the teachings of the faith and examining one’s own life to see what changes would need to be made.
There is a sense in which Lent invites us to turn our focus inward as we reflect on the teachings and the great sacrifice of Christ. One of the challenges of our modern world is the persistent call of the here and now that gives us little time to reflect on who we are or who we are becoming. I was recently reading about the effect of such electronic devices as cell phones and other electronic devices which regularly interrupt our work, or our conversations with others, or our family time. The article quoted a study which suggested that it takes close to 15 minutes to fully resume our concentration after an interruption, such as a phone call or a text message.
Lent invites us to set aside the day-to-day concerns – maybe even turn off the cell phone – and pay attention to our relationship with God. It is not running away from the world; rather, it is paying attention to the God of the Universe so we can better engage the needs of the world. Observing Lent is not tuning out the cries and hurts of the world; rather it is tuning in a different channel so we can hear what God is doing in our lives and in our world.



Reverend Mack