“The tax collector, standing far off [from the religious leader who was bragging to God about his righteousness], would not even lift his eyes to heaven but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” (Luke 18:13, NRSVue)
We live in a world where people ridicule the humble and applaud the proud. Unfortunately, Christians are often the ones who brag the most about how much better we are than other people. Someone said that pride is the root of all sin, and I can certainly see some truth in that statement. Self-righteousness is never a good look for a Christian. Jesus’ example implies humility over arrogance. So, how can we more closely resemble our Master’s attitude as we share the love of God with others?
Lent is just around the corner. Lent is a season in the Christian year when we examine our walk with God and practice disciplines that help us grow closer to Jesus. It begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14th. We’ll have a service of the ashes in the sanctuary at 6 p.m. as we confess our fallen nature before God and appeal to him to draw near to us, molding us more fully into his image.
This year, I’m inviting you into a prayer experience called “In the Presence of Jesus: A 40-Day Guide to the Intimacy with God You’ve Always Wanted.” “In the Presence of Jesus” will help you learn to quiet your mind and focus on the grace and love only available in God’s presence. We invite you to start your 40 days of contemplative prayer on Ash Wednesday. You can purchase the book by Paul Bane & Matt Litton through Cokesbury for $15.99 (https://www.cokesbury.com/9781496455628-In-the-Presence-of-Jesus) and develop a deeper connection with God through prayer and meditation. I will offer daily reflections on Facebook to help guide you through the devotions.
Throughout the Lenten season, on the Sundays that I preach, I will offer a series on “One Step Closer,” where I will share some lessons on growing closer to God. I hope you will join me in practicing these Lenten disciplines to increase our connection to God and experience the life we’ve always wanted in Jesus.
I hope to see you on Sunday, and don’t forget to bring your friends!