Hello Brothers & Sisters,
I want to thank you for all your prayers, emails, and text messages the past few days. As you know, this past Saturday was very challenging for me. I woke up early in the morning with abdominal pain and cramping. I eventually blacked out and fell in the bathroom, hitting my head and cutting my chin. I spent the morning in the ER and was under observation the rest of the day until 6:00 pm. Thankfully, the good folks in the ER were able to stitch me up, give me some meds, and send me off much better than the way I arrived.
As you can imagine, I needed to stay home and rest on Sunday. I really appreciate Pastor Kelly stepping up last minute and preaching on Transfiguration Sunday. I listened to her message and was glad that she prepared us to enter in to the Lenten season. That is a primary reason why we recognize Jesus’ transfiguration the Sunday before Lent. As the Book of Common Prayer states, we celebrate the revelation of Christ's glory "before the passion" so that we may "be strengthened to bear our cross and be changed into his likeness."
Lent officially begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. The focus of the Lenten season is on renewed discipline to walk in the way of the cross and rediscover our need to reject sin and follow Jesus. At Easter, we will celebrate the fullness of Christ’s glory through his resurrection from the dead, which as Pastor Kelly indicated, is foreshadowed in the transfiguration. But before we celebrate on the risen Lord on Easter, we spend 40 days together in the wilderness, just as Christ did before beginning his ministry. It’s during Lent that we reflect on our need for God and (re)discover our identity in the One who empowers us to live fully as people made in God’s image.
So, this year we want to recognize this important season in the church calendar with our series, Cultivating & Letting Go | Lent 2019. The church lectionary (Year C) offers us images and stories with themes of earthiness and grit. And since Lent is a season of spiritual gardening, we will be turning our attention to those things we need to cultivate and those things we need to let go for God to grow more of Christ in us. I invite you to be intentional in walking with us through this series in the coming weeks by entering in and allowing the formative power of the Lenten season to shape your faith journey.
Finally, I hope you’ll join us for our special Ash Wednesday Service tonight at 7:00 pm as we officially begin Lent by reflecting on our own mortality. We will have a time of singing (and silence), a brief message, and conclude the service with the traditional imposition of ashes, i.e. receive the sign of the cross on our foreheads. Childcare will be available if you need it. I look forward to seeing you tonight and again this Sunday as we freely give God our hearts this Lenten season. May the Holy Spirit move among us in powerful ways over the next 40 days.
Grace & Peace,
P.S. If you were in the service this past Sunday, you heard Cheryl Wolf (Congregational Secretary) announce our spring council meeting, coming up on Sunday, March 24 at 6:30 pm. You may recall that the Church Board decided last year to move to a two-council model. As a way of reminder, this allows us to do several things: (1) report/celebrate the recently completed year; (2) plan the new year before it starts; (3) report the financial results of the previous year in conjunction with ministry reports. In other words, we need two councils: one for planning and one for reporting/celebrating. I invite you will join us on March 24 to hear impact stories of how God was at work in our church last year, and to get a glimpse of where the Spirit is leading us in 2019.
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