Pastoral Post 2.17.2017

It’s a frosty morning as I write this, but the sun is coming up and the promise is for a warm, spring-like day. The jonquils are blooming, too, and we are reminded that, while we may yet have some winter to go, these warm days are at least a hint of what is to come. Spring is my favorite time of the year!

Which means that Pancake Day must be near! If you are new to First Church, you are in for a treat. When 400 volunteers work happily serving pancakes and pouring coffee for several thousand guests, who have learned that they must not miss Pancake Day at FUMC, then we have a very special day, one not to be missed. So sign up to volunteer….sell some tickets…buy the T-shirt, and let’s all pull together to make this Pancake Day as good as all the rest! (I’m not sure it could possibly be better!)

And, with spring-like weather and Pancake Day coming, Lent must be near too.  In fact, it’s less than two weeks away. Our Ash Wednesday service will be on March 1 at 7:00 p.m. It seems that each year our numbers at this service grow, as people learn how meaningful this and other Lenten services can be. (There will be no Wonderful Wednesday meal on March 1, as it is the day following Pancake Day.) Watch, too, for the Lenten Devotional Booklet, containing daily devotionals from the Gospel of Matthew written by our own members. And plan to read the Gospel of Matthew with us, your church family. If you read the entire passage assigned for each day, you will read  all of the Gospel, concluding on Easter Monday. If you received the daily devotionals last year by email, you will automatically receive them again.

Be thinking now what you will do for Lent. Will you give up something? A harmful habit, for example? Will you take on something? Like reading Matthew, or maybe a Lenten study. Susan Giles will be leading Adam Hamilton’s study 24 Hours on Wednesday evenings, beginning with an organizational meeting next Wednesday, February 22.

Sunday scripture readings during Lent will all be from Matthew. In fact, we’ve already been in Matthew, and this Sunday will be our third Sunday listening to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38-48). There is a series of sayings in Matthew 5 that go something like this: “You have heard that it was said…But I tell you….” Each time Jesus seems to require something a little different—and perhaps more difficult—than the tradition taught. We’ll hear him allude to an “eye for an eye” and hatred for our enemies, and tell us that those things won’t do. No, we are to turn the other cheek…we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Could this be the hardest, the most difficult, of all Jesus’ sayings? Maybe. We’ll ponder these words and their challenge to us to live the kingdom life Jesus described in the Sermon.

See you Sunday,

Sandy

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