Pillar Journal
- A seasonal journal produced by Pillar Church in Holland, MI to guide us through the Christian year.



Eugene Peterson’s words in a book titled Reversed Thunder startle me:

“Failure to worship consigns us to a life of spasms and jerks, at the mercy of every advertisement, every seduction, every siren. Without worship we live manipulated and manipulating lives. We move in either frightened panic or deluded lethargy as we are, in turn, alarmed by specters and soothed by placebos. If there is no center, there is no circumference. People who do not worship are swept into a vast restlessness, epidemic in the world, with no steady direction and no sustaining purpose.”

His warning is well heeded. To be clear, he’s not referring simply to showing up to church for an hour on Sunday, though corporate gatherings of worship are a catalyst for the kind of life he’s suggesting. He’s calling us to a life oriented to God, a life centered in Christ. Without which we’re reduced to “spasms and jerks,” the “vast restlessness” that so many of us know so well. The Surgeon General diagnosed the “restlessness” as “an epidemic of loneliness in America.” David Brooks, New York Times columnist and best-selling author, highlights it this way, “Between 1990 and 2018, the share of Americans who put themselves in the lowest happiness category increased by more than 50 percent.” That state of our national public discourse, the reality of our political climate and the stories coming from our own neighborhoods and homes is all the evidence I need that Peterson is diagnosing our lives like a skilled physician.

None of this is new. The circumstances and storylines are unique to our moment but the reality of “spasms and jerks,” of a “vast restlessness” has been around for a long time. Christians have known it. We have tried to prepare. We even put it on the calendar. It’s called Lent.

Lent the 40 days, not including Sundays, that precede Resurrection celebrations, is meant to be a season to center ourselves. To orient our lives to God. It has been a season in which Christians have recommitted themselves to the basic practices that have sustained Christ followers for 2000 years: prayer, fasting and generosity.

This Lenten season we’re inviting you on a journey out of the “spasms and jerks,” out of the “vast restlessness” into the center. We’re calling it, “Centered on Christ in a fragmented world.” We’re borrowing from St. Paul who wrote, “Christ is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” If you’re tired of being tired. If you’ve noticed how quickly you can become irritable. If you’re aware of how distracted your heart is or can be. If you’re aware of the pull on your life in so many directions that leave you feeling more like Gumby than a human being, now is the time, this could be the moment, Lent is for you.

From my vantage point, the world does not need any more people pulled every which way, out of breath and exhausted, but longs for a few folks who are awake, alive, centered.


Pastor Jon Brown



Artist Statement – Valerie Spoelhof
It started with a tree in the center and it was finished on a tree — center stage.
Jesus’ love draws us to be centered with him, rooted in God’s Word, following God’s will in our lives.

For “He is before all things and in him all things hold together.”
“And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1)

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