As individual Christians and as a church we are invited into Lent to engage in prayer and reflection on the meaning, purpose, and promise of our lives as children of God. Like Jesus, the church is asked to stand in the wilderness, with temptation and wild beasts on one side and attending angels on the other, and to recognize and rely on the voice of God and of the Spirit to lead us through to renewed relationship with God and one another. The Lenten season gives us the chance to move beyond the conventions and pretenses to which we cling and behind which we often hide in our lives with God, and to experience in their place, the intensity of a walk with God in the wilderness. Lent is a journey. You cannot leap from baptism to resurrection without going through the wilderness just as the people of Israel could not get to the promised land without passing through the same. Let’s not avoid Lent because of its challenges but rather embrace it as the path to deeper faith and more abundant life.
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Last week the President brought the virtue of loyalty into the public discourse. Loyalty is a common virtue that most of us hold in high esteem. However, loyalty always has an antecedent. There is always something to which we pledge our loyalty. As Christians we have an ultimate loyalty to God following in the way of Christ. Of course we have other appropriate loyalties too: to our church, families, spouses, and friends. But Luke reminds us that families divided against each other and in the midst of division were to remember their ultimate loyalties. This informs how I see issues in the political arena as well. When the President asks for loyalty from a civil servant who has a higher loyalty (to the Constitution) it puts public servants between a rock and a hard place. The same is true in the church. In the Presbyterian Church our constitution requires that members remain free of any obstacles to faithfulness to God. It is one of the reasons we have checks and balances in church government too. We govern without affording any one person the right to be a final authority. Our loyalty being to Christ, in prayer and conversation we seek the will of God together by consensus or majority. Even in the minority we do not ask people to violate their loyalties to Christ. The church only works when all members seek together to be representative of the Will of God. That is the nature of being Christ’s body in the world. All parts working together, equally valued and equally humble.
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We have moved our website from CentralEguene.org to CentralEugene.church. This site is designed primarily for those who are seeking information about the church instead of a venue for current church programs. Yes we have a calendar of events on the first page but if you want more detailed information or reminders of meetings please call the church office and get on our “What’s Happening at Central” email list. It comes out every Monday with all the meetings and updated information. This email list also offers special events and opportunities that might interest you. On our Facebook page we respond to current events, share pictures and thoughts about church events and share prayer requests. You can find us at www.facebook.com/centraleugene. If you would like to speak to one of the pastors please call the church office at 541-345-8724