Lent at FBC Clinton

Pitchers and Catchers have reported and spring training is underway! Baseball season is just around the corner and my St. Louis Cardinals mask will come in extra handy. There’s something about the establishment of a familiar routine that offers comfort, especially as we’ve all had to navigate through the perils of COVID-19. I’d rather deal with baseball season than the COVID season.

In her article “This year, I need Lent,” Dr. Kate Hanch writes, “The rhythms of the liturgical year ground me, even as the pandemic distorts my sense of time.”

That’s how I feel. Finding something else to occupy our time other than what we’ve had to deal with is healthy for us. There’s renewed optimism about a vaccine on the horizon, even though it’s important to remain vigilant and diligent in our distancing and mitigation efforts.

I need Lent this year too. It meant so much to experience Ash Wednesday and be reminded of our mortality and sinfulness: “from dust you are and to dust you will return—repent and believe the gospel.”

Over the next several weeks, our church will make its journey to the cross. You’ll notice the color purple being featured more on our pulpit and Lord’s Supper table as well as the cross in the baptistery. We’ll remain in this posture until Maundy Thursday and then of course, Easter Sunday. But, let’s not hurry through these important weeks of reflection and repentance. I’m hopeful that each one of us will find a way to slow down and appreciate what Jesus Christ has done for us. We have so much to be thankful for, among the most valuable is our shared life together. 

One of the ways we are demonstrating our unity in Christ is through stories. Each one of us has his or her own narrative of how we came to this church. Many of you have known each other for a long time, while others of us are new to this family of faith. Regardless of our background, each one of us is a thread for this wonderful tapestry known as First Baptist Church.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the “We are First Baptist Clinton” videos during the worship service. You can also find them on our website (media tab). These clips are meant to reinforce our shared life in our church during this time of separation—I appreciate all those who take part and the one who is producing them for us.

Let’s also remember those who are struggling due to the winter storm across our nation. Millions of Americans have been without power and it’s a dangerous situation for many people. Which reminds me, I was so impressed with Dolly Parton’s response to the Tennessee legislature’s efforts to put a statue of her on the capitol grounds. Parton was grateful for the overture but responded, “Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time.” 

I think that answer is just right. May her answer inspire us all to keep things in perspective during these challenging days. 

Finally, I want to express gratitude to those who are working hard to keep schools open in our area. The recent Presidential town hall reminded us that there are many places in our country where this is not the case. Let’s take time to thank our administrators and teachers for their efforts–DC

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