A sermon by Rev. Jonathan Adams – 3/9/2014
Here is your Village Church Vinings’ monthly news update:
Ash Wednesday Service
This Wednesday evening we’re having a combined Ash Wednesday service with our friend John RIchardson, pastor of Grace Community Anglican Church. We’ll meet at 7:30 in the Trustee Room at the Turner Lynch Campus Center on the campus of Oglethorpe University (4484 Peachtree Rd NE – Atlanta, GA 30319). We will not have childcare – sorry!
Here are directions:
-Turn into the Oglethorpe campus off of Peachtree Rd.
-Take an immediate right
-Just before you come to the first stop sign, parking is on the Left.
-The Turner Lynch Campus Center is just to the Left of the first stop sign
After you park:
-At the front of the Turner Lynch Student Center, go up the exterior stairs to enter into the upper floor
-The Trustee room is on the Right.
Here’a a map of the campus (the Turner Lynch Campus Center is #13 on the map):
Call Curt (404-275-5229) if you have questions or if you get lost.
Our next Face-to-Face gathering will be Wednesday, March 26th at 7pm at Katie Sims home. Email coming soon with more details.
April 25-26 in Ellijay, GA
Scotty Smith will be joining us again this year!
Details to come soon.
Say Y.E.S. Dinners
Thanks to all of you that have provided meals for the kids at the Say Yes Center. We will continue to provide them with meals until the end of the school year. There are several more dates available in April and May. If you would like to sign-up to take a meal, click the following link: http://www.takethemameal.com/meals.php?t=NUCK5421
The liturgical season of Lent is quickly approaching. Lent is a 40 day season, from Ash Wednesday through Easter (not counting Sundays, which are considered “feast days”) when we prepare ourselves, through prayer, penitence and fasting, to celebrate the risen Christ. It’s a somber time. It’s an honest time. It’s a time of confession of sin, repentance, and grappling with the reality of our humanity and the reality of our eventual death.
Our friends over at Mockingbird put it well:
At its start Lent should remind us of the core truth of Christianity: we must give up. We must give up not this or that habit or food or particular sin, but the entire project of self-justification, of making God’s love contingent on our own achievements. And the liturgy of Ash Wednesday goes right to the ultimate reality we struggle against, which is death itself. We are reminded, both by the words we say and the burned palms imposed on our foreheads, that we will die. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Give up! Give up, for you will not escape death. The entire logic of all human attempts at mastery and control are searched out and stripped away on Ash Wednesday. We are seen for what we are – frail mortals. All power, all money, all self-control, all striving, all efforts at reform cannot permanently forestall our death. Our return to dust is the looming fact of our existence that, in our resistance to it, provides a template of sorts for all the more petty efforts we make to gain control of our lives.
In this way, the repentance that takes place on this day also can be seen for what it is. The penitential rite is not a kind of shame inducing act of self-hatred. It simply is a recognition, and thereby acceptance, of our inability to love and do perfectly, which no amount of self-help strategies can change. It points to the utter gratuity of grace, its unearned, unmerited, even inexplicable nature.
Repentance, then, is liberating. On Ash Wednesday, our confession of sin really is saying, “we give up.” By repenting, we opt out of the logic that turns the good news of Christianity into another form of bondage, of accusation and moralizing. We do not, on this day at least, pretend to be anything other than the flawed human beings we are. And it is this very lack of pretending that is such a relief to sufferers weighed down by guilt. Lent is a season for honesty. We no longer have to fear or elide the truth about ourselves.
Grace and Peace,
The VCV Team