[#pictureLent] April 15: PREPARATION

By Daryl Allen
Co-Pastor, Community United Methodist Church
Fruitland Park, FL

First, read Matthew 27:57-66

What is the one thing that all of us do before we take a long or extended trip? There are variations in everyone’s routine, but the one thing we all do is pack. We pack the clothes we need, the incidentals we will use, and any other item we deem necessary. That packing helps us be prepared to participate in anything and everything we may want to do while we are away.

This passage shows Joseph of Arimathea preparing in how he cares for the body of Jesus after his death. This passage shows the chief priests trying to prepare for Jesus’ eventual resurrection as they tried to make sure it could not happen. 

Think about your daily routine. How often do you look over your daily calendar? Prepare a shopping list? Plan a conversation you are going to have with another? How, where, and when you are going to celebrate certain holidays? Preparation is part of the very fabric of most everything we do in our lives.

This season of Lent is no different. Throughout this season we have read the stories and we have participated in the special services. I pray those moments have helped you open yourself to new understandings and a deeper relationship with God. All of this was done with a look towards preparation for Easter Sunday. And not only for that one special morning, but to be Easter people all year long!

One of the things I often do when I pack and prepare for a trip, is to do it several times. I think I am done packing and realize I forgot something. I think I am done packing and change my mind about what I have initially decided to bring with me. So I unpack a bit, take out a few things, and I add a few more. 

As you finish your journey through this season of Lent, I want to invite you to always be open to “re-packing." Make yourself available to the power of the Holy Spirit to change your mind, alter your perspective, leave some things behind, and make space for a few new ideas and understandings. God is always speaking to us, giving us the chance to grow and change, so that we can be all that God calls and creates us to be as God’s Kingdom builders. 

Discussion/Reflection Questions: 

1. What things/thoughts/beliefs are you carrying that God may be calling you to “re-pack”? 
2. What are some new ways you can open yourself up to time with God? 
3. How can you alter your daily routine to help make preparations for God to use you in new and different ways this Lenten season? And beyond?