I hope you, like I, have enjoyed the mounting excitement over the rise of the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl! They have had a remarkable season—almost perfect—and they have been fun to watch. They are a solid contender—it is no fluke that they have reached the Super Bowl.
I saw on TV this morning that watching the game is not the top thing people do on Super Bowl Sunday. Some prefer the commercials, some the food, some other things. I think I’ll be glued to the game this time.
The buildup is fun. My daughter is on a video with the Charlotte Symphony (she’s a member) vs. the Colorado Symphony. The conductors have a bet—the loser will have to wear the jersey of the opposing team and play their song—the Colorado conductor, that is, will wear a Panther’s jersey and conduct “Sweet Caroline.” Yes, I’m confident that the Panthers will win! I hereby put my bold prediction in writing.
Another competition is playing out between the churches. As many of you know by now, the United Methodist Churches of Denver challenged the United Methodist Churches of Charlotte to a competition—the winner is the one who collects the most food items for local ministries, food banks, etc. I heard that Myers Park UMC in Charlotte collected over a ton on Sunday—and it’s not even Super Bowl Sunday yet!
Let’s do our part! We’ve already collected quite a bit, and hopefully this Sunday we’ll turn out with much, much more. All food items we collect will go to Haywood Christian Ministries. And if you bring a can of beans or tuna, feel free to wear your Panthers jersey if you’d like!
The real “winners” of this competition will be, of course, those who need food for basic daily nutrition and sustenance and those organizations who help them acquire it.
This Sunday is also the last Sunday after Epiphany, also known as Transfiguration of the Lord. Becky Brown will preach, and you’ll hear the story of Jesus’ transfiguration from Luke 9:28-36. Read, alongside, the story of Moses on the mountain from Exodus 34:29-35, and note similar themes.
Next Wednesday, then, is Ash Wednesday. Can it be here so quickly after Christmas?! Yes, it can, and it is! It’s been several years since I’ve preached on Ash Wednesday, and I look forward to doing so this year. What a meaningful day in the church’s yearly cycle, as we acknowledge our mortality and need, therefore, for Christ. It sets us on a journey that will culminate on Easter Sunday.
Available at the church Sunday are copies of our Lenten devotional booklet, “Pilgrimage With Paul.” We’ll get better acquainted with this fascinating man as we read his story through Acts and his writings to the churches on a daily basis. Join your church family in reading together daily the scripture passages and devotions written by our own church family. The devotions will also be emailed daily to those who want them—if you would like to receive the daily email and haven’t already been notified that it’s coming, click here
So there’s lots going on.....some of it fun, some of it a bit more serious. But let’s don’t think of Lent as a burdensome, somber season.....let’s think of it, rather, as a time to grow closer to God, to deepen our faith, and we will find significant joy in doing so!
See you Sunday,