Dear Brothers and Sisters of the body of Christ at Calvary Lutheran Church in Wellington,
When you get this newsletter, we will be about halfway through the season of Lent, a season of repentance and somber reflection, preparing ourselves spiritually for the celebration of Passion Week and Easter. Even though we are in the third week in Lent, I thought I would write a little about fasting.
In the season of Lent it is appropriate to fast, to make a conscious change in an aspect of one’s life, often by restricting a food, or type of food–for example desserts or sweets. The reason why some of us choose to fast is because it reminds us of the fast that our Lord Jesus Christ undertook in His leaving heaven to live with us in our flesh. He left the abundance and comforts and delights of heaven to share in our suffering, our temptation, our death, so that He could be our mediator, our spokesman before God our Father, pleading for us, praying with us in our weakness. During His earthly ministry He voluntarily laid aside His divine powers when and how He willed. He let Himself experience hunger, thirst, pain, fatigue, and even death–the whole fallen human condition. To remind of His great love for us, love that would impel Him to do all this for us, and to remind us that we receive all good things from Him, we can practice the discipline of fasting.
Now, of course this is not a law. You are nowhere commanded in Scripture to fast, though Jesus assumes His disciples will fast.
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:16, a text for Ash Wednesday).
Martin Luther says, “Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training.” from his Small Catechism. Fasting neither gains you points with God, or makes you holier. It is simple a useful bodily and spiritual discipline that fits very well this somber period leading to Passion Week.
Fasting does not need to be a deprivation of food, however. It could be any conscious change in one’s daily routine during the season, with the purpose of growing in the discipline of faith and prayer. It could be a decision to attend church more often, to attend mid-week Lenten services, to read a devotion daily, to come to Bible class on Sunday morning, to read a Psalm or other Bible passage a day, to read a book about faith, listen to a faithful Christian radio program like Issues, Etc., http://issuesetc.org , or watch a video blog like Worldview Everlasting.
It could be something as simple as cutting out speaking in a way unworthy of a Christian. Saint Paul says in Ephesians 5:4, “Let there be no filthiness, nor foolish talk, nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” That would make a good fast. You could make a fast by avoiding television shows, movies, or websites that are marked by such talk, substituting in their place books, internet sites, and movies that will uplift you, and help you to grow in your faith and the knowledge of things of the faith.
With that kind of fasting in mind, fasting by adding, not subtracting, I would like to give you a couple of recommendations for your reading and viewing this Lent. I will put up links to these resources on our church website, CalvaryWellington.org. as well. But for this newsletter, I’ll point you to two highly recommended resources.
www. worldvieweverlasting.com and the YouTube channel associated with it: https://www.youtube.com/user/Revfiskj are websites run by Pastor Jonathan Fisk, a young pastor in the Missouri Synod. In his short videos he explains topics that are important to Christians, like “Why do we practice open communion? Why do we baptize babies?” He does this is a very engaging, compelling, fast-paced, often humorous way. He produces several videos each week, some under five minutes, and some around fifteen minutes. Highly recommended.
Broken, “Christian” Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible
A book that I would highly recommend for Lenten reading is Broken, “Christian” Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible, also by Rev. Jonathan Fisk. You can order it from Amazon, http://www.amazon.com, or from Concordia Publishing House. https://www.cph.org. It is also available on Kindle, iBooks, and Google Books. This book, written in Fisk’s energetic, in-your-face, no-holds-barred style is a look at the contemporary state of Christian faith in our culture and church. I believe it is must reading for anyone concerned with the reasons for the Christian church’s marginalization in today’s society.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whether you are fasting already, considering fasting, or choose not to fast, I pray for you to always remember that you have been saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. “And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Fasting is not a work to merit salvation, but simply an ancient method of connecting everyday with the knowledge that we have a gracious God who has given everything to us already through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, and offers in faith the free offer of forgiveness of sins for His sake. It is a voluntary discipline useful for growing in our gratitude for all of God’s gifts, preparing us spiritually and bodily for the involuntary fasts we will all face in our lives.
I look forward to seeing you all soon in the second half of Lent as we approach Jerusalem, Mount Calvary, and the empty tomb.
Blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Pastor William Wingfield
P.S. Thank you so much for all your prayers for Vickie and Vanessa and me as we continue in our preparations to bring a new baby member into our personal family this summer in adoption, and into our family of faith with you at Calvary Lutheran shortly after we bring him or her home. We ask also that you pray for the birth mother of the baby we are adopting, and for all expectant mothers, that their children may come safely to the waters of Baptism and adoption into the family of God, into your family and mine!
Easter Lily Sign-up
The altar Guild would like to extend an opportunity
For the congregation to help beautify the Altar and Santuary
On Easter Sunday. All contributions will be placed in a
‘flower fund’ which will help purchase Easter lilies for the church.
Deadline is March 23rd.
Holy Week Services
Palm Sunday: 10:30 a.m.
Holy (Maundy) Thursday: 7p.m.
Good Friday: 7p.m.
The Resurrection of Our Lord, Easter Sunrise 7 a.m.
The Resurrection of Our Lord, Easter Day 10:30 a.m.
The LWML will have a meeting Wednesday, March 2nd following the 7pm Lenten service.
Daylight Savings time begins March 13. Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead an hour.
There will be an Easter Brunch between sunrise service and the regular 10:30 service. Sign-up sheets are in the Parish Hall for casseroles, muffins, and fruit.
You may have noticed that it is quieter in the sanctuary. Kevin Lawrence and his employees installed new LED lights to replace the older fluorescent lights. They make less noise, use less electricity, are cooler (saving on cooling), and they are supposed to last for twenty years. Thank you Kevin for the donation of your time and for paying your crew to put the lights in. And thanks to the anonymous donor who paid for the lights themselves. Thank you also to Kevin and crew for moving the old refrigerator out of the sacristy and moving the new one in. Thanks to Darlene Ferguson for the purchase of the new fridge. Thanks to Paul Oldridge also for the new refrigerator in the kitchen and the new microwave. There are so many people who contribute to this church freely or their time, talent, and treasure. I am sure I have left many out who have contributed, but you know who you are. And God knows who you are. We are blessed with a truly generous congregation, for which I give God thanks daily.
Please remember the homebound
Elmer Naasz: 102 W. Botkin
Frances Meyers: 8300 N.W. Barry Road, Kansas City, MO 64153
Wanda Peterson: 1600 West 8th Room 111
Otto & Norma Fischer: 750 N. Missouri St. Apt 119 Ulysses, KS 67880-1870