Dear Hanover Saints,
What’s up with 40? From whence the near obsession in scripture with the number 40? A little background…beginning in the Hebrew scriptures 40 represented (symbolically and literally) a generation. It served as a round number, typifying the circle and cycle of life. It denoted full maturity. It also packed a messianic message – the length of time needed to prepare for the arrival of God’s reign.
In just two verses Mark captured forty of the most important days in Jesus’s life. But all he needed to write was forty for people then to get the message: in the time Jesus spent in the wilderness a new generation is born, another cycle of life begins, maturity is achieved, and God’s reign arrives.
Last evening our journey into 40 was imposed through ashes born of palms. We were reminded of the cycle of life in which we are born of dust and return to dust. Just as his 40 in the wilderness was holy for Jesus, may it be so for us. In these coming days may we too grow to fuller maturity in mind and spirit, prepare for the reign of Christ, and rejoice in God’s everlasting circle of life and love.
On Sunday we will also share in the culminating event in our Black History Month celebration. How appropriate to gather for the Gospel Vespers Concert on the First Sunday in Lent. Vespers means “evening”; from the early church days evening vespers services were at the close of the day to pray thanksgiving for the gifts of the day ending, and blessings on the one to come. Gospel means “good news”. As we gather at 4:00 we will be praying – musically – for good news. We will experience the gifts of soloists, choirs, and poets who will lead us in prayerful gratitude for our blessings, and anticipatory hope for the ones yet revealed.
May the amazing and varied gifts we receive on Sunday fill us with hope and direction; with light and…