The Pastor’s Pen: March 10, 2019

Next Sunday, the third Sunday of March, we will observe our annual Victory March. Since the day when we first marched into our brand-new Sanctuary, we have observed the anniversary of our entry into our brand-new church by marching joyously and enthusiastically to commemorate the great blessings that God has provided us throughout the process of preparing to build, and then successfully constructing our beautiful edifice dedicated to the worship of our Lord. For this year’s March, we will couple our giving with our Lenten initiative of 40 days of commitment and sacrifice.

Today is the first Sunday of Lent. Lent is the 40 days, excluding Sundays, that lead from Ash Wednesday to Easter.

On Wednesday, at our Ash Wednesday service, we had an extraordinary worship service and fellowship. The attendance was excellent, and the music by the Gospel Choir along with the sermon by Minister Thelma Pugh were all inspiring and uplifting.

Our theme for Lent this year is 40 days of sacrifice and commitment. We have determined that for this year, rather than focusing on what we might give up, such as certain foods or certain activities, we will instead focus on several aspects of our growth as disciples of Christ. We are committing ourselves to church attendance. By this we mean attending our Shiloh services. We know that some of our sister churches have exciting worship experiences. We also know that on any given Sunday, the Howard Chapel presents some of the preeminent voices in Black religion. However, as Shiloh members, our loyalty to our church should be first and foremost. Discipleship is the way church membership is defined. For these 40 days leading up to Easter, we will resist the temptations to visit our friends’ and neighbors’ churches, and will join with the Shiloh family in praying about and working toward a deeper commitment to being disciples for Jesus Christ here at Shiloh.

Our 40 days of recommitment and sacrifice, will include sacrificially giving of our time, our talents and our treasures. There are a number of initiatives here at Shiloh that warrant the sacrifice of our time to make our work for Christ as effective as it can. We will make sacrificial gifts of our talent toward the building of God’s Kingdom. Those with computer skills can help our Communications Ministry enhance their good work here at Shiloh. Those with musical gifts can share their talents with one of our vital and excellent choirs.  We can even volunteer to play an instrument for the Sunday school when they meet in combined session, or to work with the junior church as we put new efforts into making our junior church one of the most effective it can possibly be. Even if you are not musically talented, the various youth ministry programs would greatly benefit from those who will sacrificially commit themselves, their time and their talents for supporting and helping our youth ministry. Last Sunday, we distributed a calendar of all the ministry opportunities available here at Shiloh. Please make this 40 days of sacrifice the time when you recommit your life to building up the church of Jesus Christ.

And then, we will make these 40 days of Lent a time of sacrificing our treasures. Most of us don’t think of our financial resources as treasures; the meager amount of money that we receive in our pay envelopes hardly qualifies as “treasure.” Yet, by the standards of most people in our world, the average person who attends Shiloh would be considered by others in developing countries to be exceptionally rich. God has blessed us. Rather than tightening our fist and holding on to what we have, during this Lenten season let’s open those hands and let’s joyously share our blessings, our financial blessings, with those who are in need.

As we move toward Easter, the resurrection of our Lord, let’s make these 40 days a time in which we sacrifice our time, talents and treasures to build up the Kingdom of God.