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Pastor's Note
Reverend, Warren R. Carswell

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The Darkest Hour I have always been a Winston Churchill fan. Above my office door is a "bulldogish" poster of Churchill saying, "If you're going through hell, KEEP GOING!" I recently watched Darkest Hour, a movie about the days leading up to his infamous "This was their finest hour" speech given to the Parliament. Most historians depict Churchill as an unwavering character who never doubted his steps. Author, Anthony McCarten portrays a more realistic Churchill, one who greatly struggled with the decision to lead Britain into a point of no return battle with Germany. Foregoing peace deals and a strong probability of losing his position as Prime Minister through a vote of no confidence, Churchill delivered to the Parliament what he believed to be at stake and capturing the spirit of the British people:

I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. . . But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

Some 2000 years ago, another war occurred. A confrontation between good and evil. The battle between Jesus and Satan. The salvation of humanity was at stake. The birth of Christianity was about to begin. For such a time as this, a savior was born. Many of us recognize the cross as the climatic point by which Jesus died, descended into the dead, and took back the keys of life and death. Frances J. Crosby writes the poignant words to the great hymn, Rescue the Perishing:

                                                  Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
                                                  Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
                                                  Weep o'er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
                                                  Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

                                                                    Refrain:
                                                  Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
                                                  Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

What steps lead up to that dark day on the cross in which Jesus cried out, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" and the moment in which darkness and death collided? Many suggest that moment as the darkest hour of our Savior. I propose a darker hour, the timeless moment when Jesus met Satan on the front lines in the wilderness. Those moments Jesus felt temptation to negotiate with evil, to settle with a "peace" treaty, journey the path of least resistance. After 40 days and nights of fasting, Jesus was hungry. Jesus was weak. Satan showed up at his most vulnerable hour with a tantalizing offer. Take the offer, the cross doesn't exists and "the world will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister. . ." than ever before.

Join us for the season of Lent as we explore the steps of Jesus leading up to the cross. We will relive the darkest hour in which all of humanity was on the brink of a new Dark Age and discover the hope and strength Jesus displayed. Lastly, we will grab hold of the same timeless hope and insurmountable strength and experience victory within our lives.

Grace and Peace,
Warren Carswell
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