Lenten Greetings to our Sedona UMC Family & Friends in Christ,

Consider your life for a moment. How would you define it? Try putting it into words. It is easy to say we are living beings—But what does that really mean? It is more than simply heart and lungs and brain all working well, far more complex. It is beyond our ability to explain all the parts and processes that work together and work correctly for you and me to live. It is overwhelming to consider what all is really needed for us to truthfully say we are alive. But Jesus knows—In fact, He started it. Created it. He fashioned life out of mere dirt. He is life. No Jesus—No life.

Now, consider light for just a moment. Can you imagine the moment when light burst forth to overcome the darkness? It must have been extraordinary. Most have never known total darkness. Picture for a moment being immersed in total darkness—think about the fear and the anxiety that comes with being in the complete darkness. Your heart begins racing, your palms wet with sweat, your knees knocking. Then, imagine God saying, “Let there be light” and light bursting forth to take away the darkness that has overwhelmed you. Jesus was there—He ignited light too.

In Jesus we have the embodiment of both life and light. John wrote, “In him was life, and that life was the light of people. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:4-5 NIV). In two simple words, Jesus is saying, “I will show you the way to God.”

We often take these two critically important things, life and light, for granted, don’t we? When was the last time you went to bed at night and wondered if you would wake up? Most of us give it little thought, unless we are threatened or extremely ill. Or, when was the last time you watched the sunset and wondered if the sun would rise the next morning? We count on the sun rising and lights in our home to work when we need them—Life and light are two things we truly take for granted. Could John be referring to something more than merely physical life and rays of light?

If we are honest with ourselves, there is something else we at least sometimes take for granted— Jesus! After all, in Deuteronomy 31:6 and again in Hebrews 5:13 we are promised “I will never leave you or forsake you.” God, Jesus, will always be there for us. Not that we turn our backs on Him, but we often forfeit so much by not staying in constant relationship with Him.

Physical life is granted to all who are living; but eternal, abundant, and truly spiritual life, while offered to all, is only truly possessed by those who focus on Jesus. Abundant life has one source; spiritual vision is obtained one way; eternal life can be entered through one door. And the single means of admission to this type of life and light is Jesus Christ.

As we enter this time of Lent, I want to encourage and invite you to take full advantage of experiencing the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to the fullest! Come and bring a friend or loved one to all of our Lenten/Easter events and services. Join us for our Lenten Study “Jesus-The God Who Knows My Name” on Tuesdays at 10:30am (At SUMC) or 2pm (At The Gathering Place). Take time this Lenten season to nurture and nourish, and take your relationship with the “Light” and “Life” that is found ONLY in Jesus Christ to a whole other level.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Fred