“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.” Luke 4:1-2;13 NRSV
With all of the upset and anxiety in our world today, I suppose it’s not surprising that I find myself drifting back into memories of what were, for me at least, simple easy times. As we move into the month of March, we will celebrate Ashe Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten Season in the church.
Two of my clearest memories of Lent as a little boy were; 1) giving something up, and 2) quarter, dime, and nickel folders.
“Giving something up” for Lent was never a primary focus of my family, but we did discuss it, and then keep track of each other during the Lenten season. I remember that I always had a philosophical problem with the idea of having Sundays off to eat or participate in whatever we had given up, but I never expressed it because – I liked having Sundays off!
Does anyone else remember quarter, dime and nickel folders? Does anyone under 40 remember them? They were folders with spaces for 40 coins that were to be given prayerfully on each day of Lent. Simple math tells us that the quarter folders yielded a $10 gift, the dimes yielded $4 and the nickels $2. In the days I remember, these were significant gifts for our small country church. I did some quick research and simple math and discovered those folders in 1965 with inflation would be about eight times more valuable. In other words, the $10 in 1965 would be about $80 today.
I remember each of us as children would fill a dime folder, and Mom and Dad a quarter folder. For our family of 5 kids that translates into an extra $240 in today’s funds.
Can you imagine the good that an entire congregation the size of Baldwinsville First United Methodist Church could make if each family prayed and made small sacrifices for the next 40 days? I believe it might be significant!
As we enter Lent together, I would like to encourage you to take on some new activity that will be a blessing to others. I also encourage you to remember our congregation every day in prayer and identify some small lifestyle change, some sacrifice you can make that will remind you of all that we’ve been given.
I am excited to see if together the Lord does something within and among us that will be a blessing and a surprise! Come and join us for worship this Sunday at 9:00 or 10:30A.M. - we'll save you a seat!
In Grace and Peace, Bill Mudge