Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent, the Sunday we wear the rose colored vestments instead of the purple ones. We are supposed to lighten up today. We do this every year, so that we won’t get discouraged, because Lent is a long time. We can get so caught up with our Lenten observances that we forget that Easter is coming.

What are you giving up for Lent? The question comes up every year. What are you giving up for Lent?

Today’s reading from the prophet Joel starts off like a drum beat. Blow the trumpet! Sound the alarm! The day of the Lord is coming! A day of darkness and gloom! A day of clouds and thick darkness!

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be pleasing to you, O God, our strength and redeemer. Amen.

You all know the scene I’m sure. The stadium is packed. It’s 4th and Goal; there are 3 seconds left in the game and your team needs a touchdown to win. With only enough time for one more play, they take their final timeout to come up with the perfect plan. During the timeout, the commentators speculate at what the offense will do and how the defense will try to defend it; the camera scans both teams huddled on the sideline as they nervously discuss their strategy. And then it happens. Yes, you know the scene. The camera scans the crowd and the gentleman behind the goalpost gets the moment he’s prepared so long for: [sign: JOHN 3:16].

A couple of weeks ago I took a little road trip. But I didn’t travel very far. The place I went to visit is actually less than four miles from where I live. Its distance has nothing to do with geography.