Pastoral Post 2.24.2017

I was pleased to read in Wednesday’s Mountaineer that Pancake Day is next Tuesday! We had an ad, but also got a nice write up and picture of some of our expert chefs at their grills. If you are new to the church and haven’t yet experienced a Pancake Day, I will tell you there is nothing else like it. Every year I am amazed at the numbers of people that come, and also at the number of volunteers who cook, and serve, and clean with smiles on their faces. It is an amazing day, not to be missed.

 This Sunday will be the Last Sunday After Epiphany, also known as Transfiguration Sunday. We’ll hear that strange story of Jesus on the mountaintop with Peter, James, and John, and his being transfigured before their very eyes. Intense light. Overwhelming power. The prophet Elijah and Moses himself, both long since dead, both showed up, too.

 The three disciples must have needed this experience. Maybe Jesus himself needed it. Anyway, it brings us to the conclusion of the Season after Epiphany, just one more shining affirmation of Jesus as the Son of God. What might such an experience mean for the disciples? And while few of us will have that intense an experience, what might we experience as affirmations of Jesus’ identity and influence in our lives?

 Next week Lent begins with a service on Ash Wednesday in the sanctuary at 6:30 p.m. There will be no Wonderful Wednesday dinner that night, since we will all be recovering from Pancake Day, but please make an effort to attend the service and let’s start Lent in a meaningful way together. This has been a growing service in the past few years.

Of course, we have prepared once again a Lenten Devotional booklet, with various members of our church family contributing devotionals for each day of Lent. (Many thanks to all the writers!) And I urge each of you to read the devotionals and the entire assigned passages in Matthew’s Gospel each day, so that we as a congregation read the whole Gospel during Lent. Hard Copies of the booklet are available at the church, and/or you can receive the daily devotionals by email, delivered each morning by 5:30 a.m. It’s a great way to start the day! If you received the devotionals last year by email, you will automatically receive them this year unless you opt out.

Another way to find meaning in Lent is the study by Adam Hamilton entitled 24 Hours That Changed the World. The study will be led by Pastor Susan, and it will meet each Wednesday evening beginning March 8 at 6:15 in the Salt Classroom on the third floor. If you are interested and did not attend the organizational meeting, call Susan at the church.

Lent is all about deepening our understanding and commitment, about growing in faith. I hope and pray you will take advantage of the opportunities of the weeks of Lent, which will end with special services during Holy Week and the great celebration of Easter on April 16.

There is no shortcut to Easter. The wisdom of the early church realized our need for a season of preparation before we can proclaim on Easter “Christ is risen!” To reach Easter in all its fullness, we must take the journey that leads us through the valley and past the cross on Good Friday.

See you Sunday,

Sandy

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