Pastor’s Letter for March 2023


Pastor Jim Martin of St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Weston, WV
Pastor Jim Martin

“1 Lord, you have examined me.

    You know me.

2 You know when I sit down

    and when I stand up.

    Even from far away,

      you comprehend my plans.

3 You study my traveling and resting.

    You are thoroughly familiar

      with all my ways.

4 There isn’t a word on my tongue, Lord,

    that you don’t already know completely.

5 You surround me—front and back.

    You put your hand on me.

6 That kind of knowledge

    is too much for me;

    it’s so high above me

      that I can’t fathom it” (Psalm 139:1-6 CEB).

God knows everything about us, including the number of hairs on the top of our heads.  God knew us before we were made.  God knows what we are thinking every minute.  When we think about how God knows us so perfectly, it can help us remember to follow God’s Instruction

But how well do we know ourselves?  How well do we pay attention to our attitudes and actions?  Do we always know the next word out of our mouths or the next thought we are about to process given what we may be experiencing at any given moment? 

I believe to observe a holy Lent we are called to practice intentionally walking more closely with Jesus these forty days.  Yes, and as the psalmist reminds us, God knows us all too well.  The psalmist exclaims:

“13 You are the one

    who created

    my innermost parts;

    you knit me together

      while I was still in my mother’s womb.

14 I give thanks to you

    that I was marvelously set apart.

    Your works are wonderful—

      I know that very well” (Psalm 139:13-14, CEB).

We are all, all of humankind, made in the image of God.  And God pronounces all of God’s creation as very good.  That’s a lot to live up to.  The psalmist at the end of Psalm 139 asks God to “Examine me, God! – Look at my heart!”  That’s a courageous thing to ask of our Creator.  It’s a courageous thing to ask of ourselves.  Yet in the season of Lent, is that not what is asked of us:  to reflect on our lives, on our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and in our earthly relationships with one another, with our neighbor, and even those who may be strange to us? 

The good news is that we need not journey this season alone.   You and I, we have a loving guide and counselor who desires to walk with us as we practice humility learning more about ourselves, allowing the Spirit to mold and shape us more fully into whom we have been created to be.  “With what should I approach the Lord and bow down before God on high? … He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires of you:  to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with you God” (Micah 6:6,8 CEB).  How will you observe a holy Lent this year? 

In Christ,

Pastor Jim