March 5, 2014, Ash Wednesday – Unpacking for the Journey

To listen to this sermon, click here: 130906_001

The complete text of the sermon is not available, but here is an outline:

Packing for a trip –

depends on how you are traveling — car, train, plane

Lent is a journey of the heart, an inner journey, a private journey

the Father, who sees in secret, is the only one who watches us

For the journey of Lent, we UNpack – we lighten our load

The service for Ash Wednesday invites us through the gateway of remembering our mortality and our frailty, and on into this private road of Lent,

the invitation gives us three travel tips to help us along the way

self-examination and repentance – release our burden of guilt, bitterness, excuses, grudges – Philomena interview

fasting and self-denial – the world likes this one because it’s like a diet, but we do something very different – give up what is very good, chocolate or whole meals, not so that we lose weight or get healthy, but we lighten our load to make more room for things of even greater value – Jesus, who refused to turn stones into bread – “I live by every word of my Father”

reading and meditating on God’s word – perhaps most important of all, we need to make space for listening to God – ps. 46 “Be still, and know that I am God” we need lots of time for being still along the way. Think how you can lighten the load of noise in your life….

We travel light because our travel companion traveled light – “foxes have holes, and the birds of the air their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Jesus carried no earthly treasure at all, because all his treasure was stored up in heaven. He traveled light because everything he desired was safely laid up in the heart of his Father.

Lent is the time for us travel alongside Jesus so that we can remember that our only real treasures are those that rust or moths can’t destroy, that don’t have an expiration date, and that no human being can ever break in and steal

In this season of Lent, the letter to the Hebrews reminds us to UNpack for the journey:

Let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterwards; and now he sits in the place of honor by the throne of God.

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