The Mind of Christ in Lent

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Lent is probably the most widely observed season in the Christian year. Remember that Easter Day was originally the only day in the Christian year! The early Christians met weekly on the first day of the week to pray, break bread, and share in the apostles’ reminiscences of Jesus’ earthly ministry (Acts 2:42). Their meetings were characterized by an expectation of their Lord’s immediate, sudden return. In this ecstatic atmosphere, one did not do long-range planning and goal setting. Within the pages of the New Testament, we have indications that time was fast becoming a threat to Christian faith. Time, if it were not to be an enemy, had to be made a friend. It was through this domestication of time that the Christian year evolved.

Although the precise details of the evolution are impossible to know, the general outline is rather easy to discern. First, there was the weekly celebration of the Resurrection. This celebration was of the entire Paschal mystery: the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and Ascension, the gift of the Spirit, and the promise of the Lord’s return. There next emerged a special emphasis in the spring on the celebration of the Paschal feast in relation to the actual time of the historical event. This celebration extended itself back through the Crucifixion on Friday and the Last Supper on Thursday, thus creating the Paschal Triduum of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. We know that in Jerusalem the custom began having the bishop ride a donkey into the city on the Sunday before the Passion and so inaugurate that period of observance that we call Holy Week.

Penitential discipline came to be attached to Lent as the Church increasingly understood itself as the field where the wheat and the weeds grew together. A major disagreement in the second century had to do with how to deal with those who denied or betrayed the faith. Those who had sinned were expected to perform appropriate penance. It soon became customary for all Christians to use the Lenten period as a time for repentance of past sins and self-denial (hence, “giving things up” for Lent), even if their sins had not been of a major or notorious kind.

Lent, then, is not a prolonged meditation upon the Passion and death of Christ, a pre-extended Good Friday. The clue to the meaning of Lent can be found by looking at the two days that frame it, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On Ash Wednesday, it is customary in many congregations for persons to have ashes placed upon their heads while they are being told, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” In other words, we are confronted by the fact of our mortality in a vivid physical encounter. On Good Friday, we witness the death of another human being, and we are told that in this death we all have died. Lent is intended to end at the cross, but it begins with the human condition that we all share, and it takes on the character of a pilgrimage. We’re on a pilgrimage. Keep an account of what you observe along the way.

Jim

 

Out with the Old; In with the New Beginning

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Spring is almost here. It’s on Sunday, March 19. I can’t wait. I love spring and everything that it brings: flowers, more hours of daylight, and warmer weather (although I can’t complain about this winter). But mostly, I love knowing with spring comes Easter. Easter reminds us about renewal and life. We celebrate the God-come-to-earth in Jesus. We reflect on his self-sacrificing love, and we rejoice in our opportunity to live our lives reflecting his time on earth.

This is also a perfect time for spring cleaning. It’s not just about sorting through an out of control sock drawer or clearing out a hall closet. (Although getting rid of extra stuff in our lives can be a form of service if we donate useful items to those in need.) The spring cleaning I’m talking about is more spiritual in nature. It involves searching out the things that are holding us back from, or getting in the way of, our connection to God.

What is getting in the way of your spiritual life? What are the things that you need to pack up and deal with for once and for all? Maybe it’s guilt, envy or shame. Maybe it’s the need to forgive or to be forgiven by someone. Whatever it is, know that God is with you in your struggle. Your church family at Trinity is also here with prayer and support. Please know that Jim, Keith and I are always here to listen and pray with you if you need us.

I invite you to take stock of what’s important in your life and then act on it. I’ll see you Sunday.

 

Youth Group Schedule

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

VBS Aug 3-7

The dates for VBS 2020 will be Aug 3-7. The theme is Knights of the North Castle and according to its publisher, Cokesbury, the curriculum aims to “Go on a quest learning to grow strong in the strength of God’s power by exploring how we put on the armor of God.”

As always, we are recruiting volunteers. We already have a solid core but the excellence we have maintained over the years depends on a high number of volunteers. Also, youth volunteers play a vital role in keeping VBS fun, energetic and vibrant. The VBS prep team consists of Jen Fuqua-Calsyn, Andrea Hager, Melissa Harris, Harriet Latta, Marci Thomas, Melissa Witt and me. We will be meeting continuously leading up to August, so please keep us in prayer. To volunteer, please contact one of us for more information, and we will get you connected!

 

Youth Update-Introducing Ed & Will

I’m proud to announce Ed Booth and Will Todd will join the youth group as young adult volunteers. Ed was entering and Will was already in college when I came to Trinity five years ago. They always attended church when they were in town and kept in touch over the years. Both graduated this winter and have settled back in McLean. They expressed their desire to help with the youth group because they felt blessed by it when they were growing up and want to contribute to its growth and vitality. We are blessed and honored to have them as volunteers. Ed wants to help anyway possible, and Will wants to make the youth group as memorable and relevant as it was when he was growing up. Please thank and welcome them in this new role. Thanks Ed and Will!!

 

Confirmation

The confirmation class has been meeting faithfully. All the confirmands are a joy to be around and have been fantastic participants in this year-long journey. One of the goals of confirmation is integrating them into Trinity because once they are confirmed, they will be full members of Trinity with all the duties and rights. Please keep them in prayer because the class is heading to its conclusion with Confirmation Sunday and Banquet on June 14. They will make a presentation during worship and will read their faith statements during the banquet. Writing faith statements has been a great challenge in the past so please keep that as a prayer topic. The confirmands are Olivia Burgeson, Lily Calsyn, Catherine Dunn, Fiona Keough, Madison Turk, and Zach Yellen. If you see them in service, please welcome and encourage them as they journey on in the confirmation process.

 

March 2020 at Trinity

March 2 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

March 8 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
March 8 Executive Council

11:45 a.m.

March 10 Book Chat

6:30 p.m.

Finding Dorothy, by Elizabeth Letts
March 21 Christ House
March 16 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

March 21 Christ House
March 28 Good Works Day

8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

See details below.
March 29 Celtic Service

5 p.m.

March 30 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

Support our Preschool while eating at Chipotle on Wednesday, March 4. Visit the restaurant at 6707 Old Dominion Dr. in McLean between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tell them you are supporting the cause and 33% of the proceeds will be donated to Trinity Preschool of McLean.


Spring Good Works Day

Saturday, March 28

8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Trustees and Church & Society will host Trinity’s Spring Good Works Day on March 28, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. followed by a BBQ chicken lunch. Trustees will have the tools and supplies for helpers of all ability levels to work on inside and outside projects around the campus including the Fellowship Building and Trinity House. Drop in when you are able and join your friends for a morning of service that will enhance our campus and serve our neighbors, then stay for BBQ and fellowship. For more information please contact Wayne Detwiler for trustee projects (wdetwiler@trideum.com); William Liu for Church and Society projects (williamliu@att.net); and Reba Page for Trinity Cooks Crew (pagerann@hotmail.com).

Book Chat: Finding Dorothy

Trinity’s book club will get together on Tuesday, March 10, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss Finding Dorothy, by Elizabeth Letts, a richly imagined novel that tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum’s wife, Maud. We meet the second Tuesday of the month (from September through May) in the Trinity Library. Everyone is welcome, even if you haven’t read the book! The selection for April 14 is The Buried, by Peter Hessler, about the lives of ordinary people in the ill-fated revolutions of the Arab spring. For more information, contact Kathy Maher.

Journeying Outside Ourselves Together

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 26. This means Easter is celebrated on April 12 this year. In order to get to Easter we must pass through the season of Lent which addresses our need for spiritual discipline.

The discipline involved in Christian spiritual formation begins by looking outside, not inside, ourselves. A long tradition that began in classical Roman Catholicism and has continued to be popular with many Protestants assumes that spiritual renewal begins by looking deep within our own souls and our private religious experience. Behind this assumption is the belief of the ancient Greeks that the human soul is a “little piece of divinity” in us, in hopes of encouraging us to get in touch with ourselves at the deepest level. If we want to recognize and experience God’s presence of God’s life-renewing Spirit in us, we must be willing first to look away from ourselves, outside ourselves, beyond our personal experiences.

This Lenten season I invite you to join me and others on a spiritual journey that will change the way you look at Jesus. For 6 weeks following Ash Wednesday we’ll look at the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life. The journey is called 24 Hours That Changed the World, by Adam Hamilton. Jesus is believed to have died between the age of 35-40. Most of the Gospel writers focus on the last three years of his life. Our primary interest in this Bible study will be on his last 24 hours. Our study will examine what happened on Thursday evening after sunset and end at the close of his life on Friday afternoon. During that time we’ll see Jesus eat the Last Supper with his disciples; pray in the garden of Gethsemane; be betrayed and deserted by his friends; be convicted of religious blasphemy; be tried and sentenced for insurrection by Pontius Pilate; be tortured by Roman soldiers; and finally, focus on his crucifixion, death and burial.

The aim of this study is to help you better understand the events that occurred during the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life, see more clearly the theological significance of Christ’s suffering and death, and reflect on the meaning of those events on your life. To do this we will look at the geographical and historical settings of the events; we’ll reflect theologically on the meaning of these events and Jesus’ death; and finally we’ll examine ourselves in light of the story, considering how we’re like Pilate, Peter, Judas, John, Mary and Martha.

Our class will meet Sundays at 9:30 a.m., Mondays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. The study DVD is provided by Adam Hamilton and study books are available in paperback ($10) and Kindle (<$8). Simply ask me for your print copy. Remember, the Spirit is the Spirit of God that cares about each of us. This Spirit has the power to renew your faith and deepen your understanding of God’s work through salvation. This Lenten study will help us focus outside ourselves, give up our self-centered preoccupation, and soften toward the world, and others, who are also on a spiritual journey, whether they acknowledge it or not.

Let’s begin together our journey through the last 24 hours of Jesus life. See you at any of our three class offerings, as we take the first step.

Grace and Peace during this Lenten season of preparation.

Jim

 

February 2020 Book Chat

Trinity’s book club will get together on Tuesday, February 11, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss Morningstar: Growing Up With Books, a journey through author Ann Hood’s early fascination with reading, We meet the second Tuesday of the month (from September through May) in the Trinity Library. Everyone is welcome, even if you haven’t read the book! The selection for March is Finding Dorothy, by Elizabeth Letts. For information, contact Kathy Maher (Kathyngs@gmail.com).