This is theme for our Lent Season. Beginning on Ash Wedensday, February 17 at 7:00pm
In the book of Joel, the prophet paints a vivid picture of the coming judgment of God, the day of the Lord. But right in the middle of this frightening portent of judgement, we find a tender invitation from the Lord: “Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster” (Joel 2:13b). During this season of Lent, we will consider this “call to return,” and how it played out for those who walked alongside Christ during His Passion, and for us today.
Joel’s prophecy is dark and terrifying, and the imagery is vivid. It sets the stage for God’s invitation and promise: “You have turned away from Me in your hearts and minds, and I have now shown you where that path will take you. But it is not too late. Turn back! Return to the Lord! I am gracious and merciful, and I will bless you.” Shockingly, perhaps, the path to the blessing is equally as dark and terrifying, and the imagery even more vivid, than the path to destruction. God’s call to return is a call to join Jesus on a path of pain and suffering. But it is a path that leads to everything but destruction; it leads to blessings from God and the gift of eternal life in Christ. God calls us into relationships with Him and with other Christians, people who walk the path with us and share their blessings. This sermon sets the stage for the Lenten path that we will follow together, a path where we learn from our brothers and sisters in the faith, and where their stories help to illuminate and direct our own stories.