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Pastor's Notes - Lent

Pastor Gary McCluskey
Pastor Gary N. McCluskey

Pastor's Notes
Gary N. McCluskey, Pastor

What is God up to? Typically that is not the way we phrase the question as we look around our world and our lives. More often we ask, "What is going on?", or "What is happening?".  

It is not that we think God is behind every change, every movement, every event and person that we witness, read about, or hear about. It is more a wonderment of what God might do with such things and such people once something happens or after some huge change. 

The church, of course, is just once place to ask such questions. We know of its decline in numbers, we are aware of its aging constituency and it is difficult to not question and wonder.  The very large and heretofore successful evangelical seminary, Andover Newton closes after spending a few million on new construction. We are merging seminaries with our colleges, merging seminaries, and trying new ways to continue to educate church leaders. Some congregations close due to low membership, others because they can't get a pastor. What will churches look like in years to come? What will the job descriptions of pastors and church leaders look like in future years? What is God up to? 

The Middle East has changed dramatically in the past five or so years. Yet in many ways it has not changed much at all regarding its choice to "solve" most every issue with violence. What is God up to? 

Your life and my life change with the years. Some change is brought on simply because we do age. Some change is brought on by the changes in our culture and our world. What is God up to?

Those who try to read godly tea leaves generally seem to have one thing in common: their hypotheses as to what God is up to end up being wrong. Maybe this is why we have scripture. Maybe this is why, above all, we have Jesus. Neither provide specific, detailed, answers as to what God might be up to in our lives or in our time. Instead they reveal the character of the God who works in and through lives and events.

Lent is underway. We reflect upon ourselves and our sin. We think about our personal life a bit more deeply. We think too about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus in a more focused manner. All of this teaches us we may not know what God is up to. But even in difficult times; perhaps especially in difficult times, we know something of who God is and we know that whatever God is up to, it is for good. This is reassurance during Lent when our reflection exposes our sin. It is joy at Easter when the God who triumphs over sin is revealed. 

So, a blessed Lent to us. And a very happy and joyous Easter. 

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