We are officially entering the season of Lent, and this is a time in our Church calendar year where we take a closer look inwardly, and prepare ourselves for the journey to the cross. For many, the season of Lent is simply filled with more things to do at church in an already busy time of the year. Yet, despite this, I want to invite everyone to see Lent as a gift! As a friend of mine said, “The Book of Common Prayer calls us to a Holy Lent, and not a busy one.” In fact, the prayer book says, “I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial, and by reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word” (pg. 265). One of the challenges in the Church today is that often a successful church is thought to be one that is busy – the one that has the most programs, the most committees, the most activities, the most members. The truth be told, this is not true. A successful and healthy church is one that is happy and always moving forward, seeking to love and serve God through Jesus Christ. And it is a church where members love each other, and genuinely want to be together. Therefore, busyness is not the key to a successful Lent. Lent is a time where we prepare to celebrate our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, and in so doing we undergo the self-examination of our sins, and the confession of them. But what we also need to remember is that Lent is not simply about giving up something we enjoy in life. Lent is about meditation and prayer, and the intentional focus on God’s Holy Word. In other words, it is about taking upon ourselves the holiness of God, and engaging that which will bring us deeper into God’s presence. So I encourage everyone to get more involved in the life of St. Stephen’s, and especially Sunday worship, our Lenten Series program on Wednesday evenings, Sunday morning Christian Education, and all other ministries and activities that will guide us deeper into the divine. Now is an opportunity for us to explore the wonders and love of our God, and we often discover it in the presence of our neighbors!