Have you noticed an oddity in the calendar this year? Ash Wednesday, the day that begins the season of Lent (preparation for Easter), is on Valentine’s Day. Easter Sunday, the most holy day of the Christian year, is on April 1, April Fool’s Day. A coincidence like that has to be celebrated, and we are planning on it!
Here’s how we are planning to celebrate:
Feb 14 – 5:30-6:30 p.m. Pancake Dinner in the Worship Center. We will have pancakes and fixings available for a donation beginning at 5:30 up until 6:30 p.m. We encourage you and your family to join us as we get rid of the “Fat Tuesday” leaven and begin the season of Lent.
Feb 14 – 6:30-7:15 p.m. Ash Wednesday Service
This service is one of the most moving of the year for me personally. The meaning behind the service is that we are reminded of our mortality “that we are dust and to dust we will return.” We place ashes on each other’s foreheads, making the sign of the cross, and say these words, “From dust you have come, and to dust you shall return. Repent, and believe in the good news.” So, we are reminding each other of our common end, that we will all die, but as people of faith our good news is that we are assured of our life to come. As a culture we are not accustomed to such conversations, but in the Church we welcome the opportunity to proclaim our faith in what God has done for us in Christ Jesus.
For the series of sermons that will begin on Ash Wednesday and run through March 25, we will focus on the seven deadly sins that tend to separate us from experiencing the love of God: Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, and Apathy.
Beginning February 21, we will be forming Small Groups to discuss the themes of each Sunday. We will offer a meal, catered from a local restaurant, between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Reservations will be necessary so that we can provide adequate provisions. At 6:30, small groups will be formed and a facilitator will coordinate the discussions around questions we will supply. The process is designed so that relationships are formed and deepened, with confidentiality understood within the group. The small groups will run for five weeks, from February 21 until March 21. We hope to reform groups after Easter around another subject.
I am excited about this time of spiritual growth. This season is designed so that we both encounter God’s truth, but also so that we can study this word in community and glean from each other’s experience and understanding. We will grow closer together as we eat, study, and worship together.
I so look forward to seeing you in these days ahead, walking with Jesus in this season of preparation toward a cross and an empty tomb.