UNION COUNTY — Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and this year that day fell on the same day as Valentine’s Day and that’s why the scripture for the Ash Wednesday service at Grace United Methodist Church was about the Great Commandment of Jesus Christ.
In the Lenten Meditation he delivered during last Wednesday’s Ash Wednesday service opening the annual Lenten Season services hosted by the church, Rev. David Bauknight, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, began with this quote from The Bible:
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
— John 15:9-17
Bauknight pointed out that this year the start of Lent (Ash Wednesday) fell on the same day as Valentine’s Day. He saidhe felt this is appropriate as Lent is about “the love of God for us.” Bauknight told those attending the Ash Wednesday service that “the heart of God is here” and that His love “is being poured out on us.” He said that Christians should not only return God’s love to Him, but also share it with one another as Christ commanded.
Bauknight said that Lent “is all about Jesus Christ. He is the reason for this.” He said that Lent reminds Christians of Christ’s “surrender to the cross,” and reminds them of “Christ giving Himself for us.” Bauknight said that Lent is about taking these reminders to heart and surrendering yourself to God and undergoing the spiritual discipline that enables those who do to love one another as Christ commanded His followers to do. He said that his surrender is symbolized by the “Imposition of the Ashes,” the culmination of the Ash Wednesday service in which Christians have the cross drawn on their foreheads with ashes.
Those attending last Wednesday’s service them came to the altar where Bauknight and an assistant drew the cross. Those attending also recited the “Thanksgiving Over The Ashes” prayer.
Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth. Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, so that we may remember that only by your gracious gift are we given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Lent is the six-week period that begins with Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later before Easter Sunday. It is traditionally described as lasting 40 days, the number of days Jesus Christ spent in the wilderness before beginning His earthly ministry and during which He faced — and rejected — three temptations offered Him by Satan.
The institutional purpose of Lent is to the prepare Christians through such things as prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, which commemorates the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, beginning on Palm Sunday when Christ entered Jerusalem, through His crucifixion on Good Friday, and culminating with His resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Lent is celebrated by the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Methodist churches as well as some Anabaptist and evangelical churches.
Each year, Grace United Methodist Church hosts a celebration of Lent with a service each Wednesday during the Lenten Season. The Lenten services begin at noon and are lead and the Lenten message delivered by a different minister from a different church in Union County. After each ceremony, worshippers adjourn to the GUMC Social Hall where they will enjoy a meal prepared by church members at a cost of $6 a plate.
This year’s Lenten services at Grace United Methodist Church are continuing and are being held on the following dates and lead by the following ministers with the following lunches served:
• Wednesday, Feb. 21
The speaker will be the Rev. Merritt Wentz from Bethel/Duncan Acres United Methodist Churches.
The after service menu will include ham, potato salad, green beans, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, rolls, dessert, tea & coffee.
• Wednesday, Feb. 28
The speaker will be the Rev. Robbie Stollger from First Baptist Church.
The after service menu will pork loin, Asian slaw, sweet potatoes, rolls, dessert, tea & coffee.
World Day of Prayer
In a statement released this past weekend the church announced that it will be continuing “the Community Lenten Services/Lunch on March 7 with a focus on prayer as we commemorate the World Day of Prayer. The sanctuary will be open for those who would like prayer until 3 p.m. Please join us!”
• Wednesday, March 7
The speaker will be the Rev. Jeff Farmer from Sardis United Methodist Church.
The after service menu will include chicken casserole, green beans, fruit salad, rolls, dessert, tea & coffee.
• Wednesday, March 14
The speaker will be the Rev. Lee Moseley from Union Presbyterian Church.
The after service menu will include marinated chicken breast, potato casserole, broccoli salad, rolls, dessert, tea & coffee.
• Wednesday, March 21
The speaker will be the Rev. Richard Lewis from Buffalo United Methodist Church.
The after service will include hot dogs with chili, coleslaw, baked beans, potato chips, dessert, tea & coffee.
• Wednesday, March 28
The speaker will be the Rev. Dr. A.L. Brackett from St. Paul Baptist Church.
The after service menu will include fried chicken, green beans, macaroni/cheese, biscuits, dessert, tea & coffee.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.