WORD FROM THE PASTOR
In February we began our Lenten journey. It is a time of reflection, repentance, and reaffirmation. Ash Wednesday allowed us an opportunity to begin that journey by remembering God’s covenant to us in baptism and that we are baptized into the death of Jesus so, like Jesus, we can rise to new life. Lent is our time to struggle and figure out what that new life is. Like Jesus, we may find ourselves in the wilderness and facing temptations. Like him, we can turn toward the one who calls us beloved, who seeks us out to bring us into a loving relationship, who wants us to live for others and not just ourselves.
As we reflect on the challenge of the last year, we may find ourselves weary and at the end of our rope. Our spirits may grow tired and we may feel as we have nothing left to give. Yet, like Jesus in the wilderness, God sends us help for our journey. The angels around us may not have wings, but they are God’s helpers. Our brothers and sisters of the faith are our companions on this journey and seek to help us when we feel as if we can’t take another step.
It’s been a hard year. We feel as if so much has been “taken away” from us. We have not been able to fellowship as we have in the past and we have not been able to be in the kinds of groups we would want in the way that we would want. We do this not because we don’t want to be together, but because we want everyone to be able to be here when we can be together again.
With the vaccines being distributed, we do have light at the end of the challenge. Numbers are declining and people are getting protected. Yet, we still need to take the precautions to keep people as safe as we can. We will get to gather in groups again starting February 28. In-person worship with the same precautions (see article) will be at 9 a.m. and we will continue to offer our Zoom/YouTube Live/Transmitter service at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday services and meetings will be hybrid for those who would like to come and for those who do not yet feel safe in doing so.
During our Sunday services in Lent, we will be looking at relationship, specifically covenant relationship. One thing I have learned is relationships are hard. We may feel wounded by those with whom we are in relationship and it’s hard to let the wound heal. The best relationships are the ones that we are willing to work on, go through the tough times with, and come out on the other end understanding the other more. Our relationship with God is no different. When we are willing to have the difficult conversations with our God, and to take time to listen and understand, we may not like what we learn, but we will be strengthen by the wisdom. God is willing to do God’s part, and asks us to do our best to do ours.
Our mid-week Lenten services will take us through the Readings for Holy Week. Week 1 (February 24) will focus on the acts of Saturday & Sunday; week 2 (March 3) will focus on the acts of Monday; week 3 (March 10) on the acts of Tuesday; week 4 (March 17) on the acts of Wednesday & Thursday; and Week 5 (March 24) on the acts of Friday & Saturday. We will try to pull out passages that are less familiar and talk through them together.
We will continue on our journey. We will walk together this road of faith. We will seek to support all in our church family no matter their comfort level. We will seek to do our best to love one another as we are loved by our God. Brothers and sisters, I love you; I miss you; I am here for you. Let us pray for God’s will to be done and for God’s strength to help us be a part of the doing.
In Christ’s service,