Gabriel's Horn, Pastor George Weaver, February, 2015

posted Jan 30, 2015, 6:59 AM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated Jan 30, 2015, 6:59 AM ]

Ash Wednesday Adoration and Prayer

 

A recent article in the religion section of the local newspaper highlighted the fact that a church located in the city of Lancaster provides a year round prayer chapel 24/7, for anyone who chooses to spend an hour there in devotion to Christ. This can be once a week or twice a month or whatever. Their ministry is based on the Gospel account of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. After leaving the Upper Room where he shared the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus, deeply aggrieved at his impending death, asked that the disciples stay awake while he prayed by himself a little way off from them. As we read in Matthew 26:40, “Then he (Jesus) came back to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter; 'So could you not stay awake with me one hour?'”

With only a few exceptions (this local prayer chapel does close in bad weather and on Christmas and New Year's Day) during all hours of each day and night, one or two persons per hour, are utilizing this chapel in Lancaster for a period of prayer, Bible Reading, and spiritual devotion. This act of perpetual devotion involves some 200+ committed persons and is now in its 18th year.

To replicate that would be a sizable challenge and involve considerable effort and organization, but when our Sunday School class discussed this recently, some felt that we at least might involve ourselves in an admittedly somewhat less demanding way as a measure of our dedication and commitment as Christians.

 Members and friends of Leola United Methodist Church are being offered the opportunity to come to our church for prayer on Ash Wednesday, February 18, at a time of their choosing. The church will be open from 6 AM until 6 PM that day as we enter the Lenten season. There will also be an Ash Wednesday worship service in the sanctuary at 7 PM that evening.

 Lent is the Christian season of preparation for and before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday, marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are omitted from the count because they are considered as feast rather than fast days).

Lent continues to be a special occasion when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside sufficient time for reflection on Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection.

Jesus inquired of Peter whether he could not stay awake with him for one hour. The question for us now in the 21st century is whether we will make the effort to spend an hour, or even half of an hour, as part of our spiritual preparation for the observance of the Lenten Season in 2015.

You will find a sign up sheet posted in the church narthex for anyone who wishes to participate. You may also call the church office (656-7600) to have your name added to the list if that would be more convenient. Hopefully, many will choose to add their names to those who are willing to give up 60 or even 30 minutes of time this year on Ash Wednesday, as an expression of devotion to Christ for all he means for us!

 

George Weaver, Pastor of Maturing Ministries

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