What are those things in life that you had to memorize and recite? For many, there's the "Pledge of Allegiance." Often students in schools start their day off reciting this. For Christians, there's The Lord's Prayer which we say every week. Maybe you are in Scouts or another group that has a law or oath that you state at every meeting. You might not have it memorized, but if you are in worship on the first Sunday of the month, you're probably pretty familiar with the communion liturgy. As Methodists, we participate in communion at least once a month because it is sacred. As a sacrament, it is a special experience of grace in which we can connect with one another and God. There have been pushes throughout history to return to communion every Sunday to honor its meaningfulness.

Those who see it differently might argue that if we do these things too often, they might actually lose their meaning and become rote. Have you ever forgotten The Lord's Prayer or the "Pledge of Allegiance" while you were speaking it? Maybe you've gotten so used to it that your mouth usually moves on muscle memory and you actually don't even think about the words anymore! Sometimes when we do something often, we can lose sight of its actual meaning and simply carry on through the motions.

I think this can happen with faith too. We can go to church on Sundays, give some money, and be part of a work area or other form of ministry. At the same time, our lives are so busy that it just becomes something else we do. As we enter into this season of lent, we have an opportunity to slow down, to change up our faith journey, and allow ourselves to reflect and look deeper. Who is God to me? What does it mean for me to be a follower of Christ? When I exit the church building each Sunday, are the words I speak and the actions I do a testament to what I believe?

The next four Sundays, let's take a little bit of time and explore these questions. Let's join Pastor Smoke and the children in burying our alleluia so that with some nurturing and care might flourish into wholehearted faith. How will you seek closeness with God in this season of lent?

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