The forty days of Lent will begin soon, circle February 14. (Note to self: Deliver roses and chocolate to wife on the 13th!) Ash Wednesday service at LCM will be at 5pm. There is no soup supper scheduled for Ash Wednesday. The five Lenten Wednesdays to follow will also begin at 5om and include a soup supper.
On the 14th, we will have ashes “imposed” on our foreheads and hear the words, “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” We heard “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” at recent memorial services for Lucille and Effie. We hear them again on Ash Wednesday as a reminder of our mortality too. Then to confess: Isn’t it amazing what the Holy One can do with dust!
Wednesday Lenten Services will feature the Biblical notion of “Binding and Loosing.” Mt. 16:18-20 tells of Jesus giving to Peter, and the church, the authority to exercise a prayer discipline called Binding and Loosing.
To bind usually means to forbid, to prohibit. When you bind something, you put it in chains. But it can also mean holding it close.
To loose means to set something free. When you loose something, you have untied it from a previous bondage.
In some situations, Jesus got upset when the Pharisees “bound” believers to rigid Interpretations of the Law. Better to “unbind” the believers, set them free from the overuse or burden of the Law. On the other hand, Jesus encouraged believers to bind themselves to care for one’s neighbor and to loosen one’s grip on their possessions.
We are all constantly binding and loosing, although you might not think of it that way. When you think of what really matters to you at LCM, those are things you’ve bound to yourself. Might be the way we worship, might be making repairs in the attic, might be cleaning out kitchen cabinets. Different things matter to each of us; together, we make a congregation serving God and neighbor.
Binding and loosing can be both an individual and a communal practice. As followers of Jesus, it is our challenge to discern what to bind ourselves to and what to untangle ourselves from. It can be a helpful discipline as we examine – and repent from - mindsets, habits, possessions, and relationships that separate us from God. Our Lenten service will be 30 minutes (maybe a bit longer) to read from scripture, listen for the Spirit, and sing some prayers. Then we’ll have soup!
Sundays are not considered part of the 40 days of Lent & will follow the assigned texts.
Blessings! Pastor Kirk