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New Hope Presbyterian Church
  • 7301 Shallowford Road
    Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421
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  • Phone (423)892-0853
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Regular Schedule
  • Adult Bible Study
    – 9:45 AM to 10:45 AM
  • Worship
    – 10:45 AM to 11:45 AM
  • Prayer Group
    – 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
  • Brown Bag Dinner & Bible Study
    – 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Pastor's Page

Candace Worth

Candace's Pastoral Ponders...

With the start of March comes the beginning of Lent.  Personally I enjoy the fact that from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday I don’t have to fight with commercialism for attention.  Lent is a time of reflection and penance—a time to refocus our lives on God’s priorities rather than ours.  Our wasteful, individually focused consumer culture is at odds with God’s culture of love for the earth, others, self and of course God.  Unlike Christmas and Easter, Lent has not been distorted by someone using our faith as a motivation to buy something.  The practice of Lent as a preparation for Resurrection Sunday is older than Christmas.  When we participate in Lenten practices we are connected once again to the whole community of believers and the roots of our faith.  Through Christ we are grounded, stabilized in a place where we are nourished by God’s Word and filled with God’s Spirit which facilitates our growth.  Joan Chittister writes in her book about the Liturgical year that,
“Every year, Ash Wednesday calls us back to the paths from which we have strayed,  refocuses our attention on both the way and the goal of our journey through life.  Every year the Sundays of Lent plunge us into the center of the faith, reminding us of who we are and who we must become.” (p. 117)
I remember learning about Lent when I was growing up.  It wasn’t something in which Presbyterians generally participated at that time.  It was this strange practice done by Roman Catholics which required them to suffer.  I have grown to learn that that is a very incorrect assessment of Lent and I am glad that Presbyterians have realized the value of this season and it’s practices.  Lent is not about giving something up so that others see our suffering and congratulate us on our religious fortitude.  It is a way of refocusing our lives around God.  Chittister describes it as, 
“The call to prayer, to liturgy, to the co-creation of the world.  It is about our rising to the full stature of human reflection and, as a result, accepting the challenge to become fully alive, fully human rather than simply grossly, abysmally, self-centeredly human.” (p. 119)
I encourage you to find ways during the Lenten season to open your hearts and minds more fully to God’s Word that you might be filled with hope, challenged to grow, and proclaim the truth of the Gospel.