Emmanuel Lutheran

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Evalgelical Lutheran Church in America Northeastern Ohio Synod
Letters from Pastor Alan Smearsoll

March 2023

The calendar hanging in my office is a calendar of the church year. It displays all of the church festivals and shows the corresponding colors to go with those festivals/seasons. As I look at March, the whole month is purple due to the fact that the season of Lent just so happens this year to run through the entire month.

I am reminded by the whole month of thirty-one days being purple, that we are smack dab in the midst of our forty day journey of Lent. Forty days seems like a very long time, doesn’t it?

Lent is, in one sense, supposed to mimic Jesus’ time spent in the wilderness where he was tempted. Matthew and Luke say that he fasted for those forty days and was famished when the devil offered up his first temptation to turn stones into bread so he could satisfy his hunger.

Hunger causes people to do crazy things. Wars have occurred due to nations that hunger and desire what the other has. People leave everything behind to migrate to other countries because there is no food in their homeland. A new term has come onto the landscape in recent years for someone whose temper flares due to lack of eating – the person is “hangry.”

Lent is our forty day “hangry” time. As we journey together these forty days, we starve out the desires within us that keep us from loving Jesus as we can and ought. It is not an easy task. It makes us hangry. The devil is crafty and tries to convince us that we need these distractions in our lives and can’t do without. The discipline of Lenten worship and study, of reading scripture, prayer and sacrificial giving during these forty days of wilderness wandering are what sustain us along this journey until the hangry gives way to the fullness of the Easter feast.

Be a “hangry” Christian this Lent. Starve out the excuses and the lies of the devil. Take them to the cross. You will be filled who hunger and thirst for righteousness, Jesus promises. And in the end, the forty days will not seem so long after all. 

Pastor Alan

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