Lent Newsletter 2018

When I was a kid, all I remember about Lent was that we were supposed to fill little fish
banks with pennies so that we could put them in front of the church on Palm Sunday for
“One Great Hour of Sharing”, a special offering to help those affected by natural disasters
and to provide food to the hungry. We would then receive our palms that we would waive
around until the worship service started. That was the beginning of Holy Week. Holy Week
meant no school on Friday but included a mandatory “time out” from the off-day activities
between noon and 3 when we were supposed to think about Jesus. Easter was always a
great day. A basket of candy (spice jelly beans were my favorite) and a pretty special day at
church. I liked Holy Week.
Some years back I read an article in Time magazine about the group of people who called
themselves the “Jesus Seminar”. They were a group of Christian theologians and clergy who
were searching for the “historical” Jesus in scripture. They had this system where they
would look at a particular passage attributed to Jesus and talk about the likelihood that
Jesus really did say the things in the passage. Then they would vote with colored beads.
 Red: That’s Jesus!
 Pink: Sure sounds like Jesus.
 Gray: Well, maybe.
 Black: There’s been some mistake.
Very controversial. Can you guess the time of year Time published this article? Yep! Lent!
I found the article interesting. For some reason, it made me wonder what it must have been
like listening to Jesus. How would Jesus teach us about God in a way we could understand
it? Let’s face it, reading the Bible is hard work. Listening to Jesus would have been hard
work, too. To understand the message, we would have needed help. And Jesus gave some
help. He used illustrations that were based on everyday experiences that would give insight
to the listeners. We call them parables. They represent a main part of the teachings of Jesus ,
forming approximately one third of his recorded teachings.
Over the years I came to believe that these parables were the principal way Jesus taught
and that most likely qualified for one of those red beads. “Yep! That’s Jesus!”
So, here’s the problem. Those everyday experiences are thousands of years old and are
everyday experiences we do not experience every day in 2018. We have trouble
understanding them. And so, have trouble understanding what Jesus wanted us to
understand. So, this Lent, Matt and I are going to try to explain these parables and discuss
their meaning in modern terms.
There are 49 parables and we will publish one every day as a Lenten Devotional. All you
need to do is sign up and give us your email address and you will get one every day
beginning the first day of Lent. Join us on our parade of parables this Lent and find Jesus.
Find Jesus in a new and different way. Understand Jesus in a new and different way. The
way Jesus taught. The way his disciples learned … and lived.
PS: For those who do not have email, we will place the devotional entries in the Narthex every
week. If you do not have email and cannot make it to church on Sunday, let us know and we
will mail them to you.