Altamont Reformed Church

From the Pastor's Desk

February 2021

Dear Friends,

Lent is coming. Surprising on two fronts: first, that it’s almost Lent already and secondly, that we’ve been in what feels like Lent for nearly a year at this point. Lent is usually a time of self-denial in order to identify with the sufferings of Christ. This is the origin of the tradition of giving something up for Lent. But denial of things of life is something that we’ve lived with for quite some time now. It does not seem like giving something up for Lent would be the best thing; indeed, we have been giving up many things for nearly a year.

I wonder, though, about taking something on. What if, instead of giving something up, we take something on: a spiritual discipline such as prayer or reading scripture? What if we take on reading a book that will help us to love God and love others? Or maybe even writing notes to people or making calls to people? The possibilities are almost limitless. The root of Lent is not simply in the practice of denying ourselves something, but it is truly about being drawn closer to God, and there are many ways that this can be done. One of these ways is redirecting our time.

I don’t know about you, but the weariness of all this has hit me like a freight train during the last couple of weeks. Perhaps you feel the same. And perhaps cultivating a spiritual practice during this season might be life-giving for you.

Know that I’m praying for you all in this season, on a daily basis. I still love hearing from you, so never be hesitant to reach out. I love you all so very much.

With deep and abiding love,

The Rev. Matthew J. van Maastricht
Pastor and Teacher