Weekly Update

Greetings, everyone, and Happy Lent!

 

I know, that probably seems an odd thing to say. But as I said at the Ash Wednesday service last night, we live with the knowledge of the resurrection and so Lent has the option of being a season of gratitude as well as a season of “reflection and self-examination.” Traditionally, that self-examination’s goal has been to convict us of our need for a Savior. We might also include in our Lenten observance the fact that the Savior HAS COME. What does this mean? It means we can accept our selves for who and what we are, confident that at our best and at our worst, God loves us just the same. That seems to suggest that we can stop worrying (judging ourselves, doubting ourselves, feeling worthless) and start living (striving for the common good, trying to improve, getting back up when we fall) because we know that, no matter what, God loves us and will never abandon us.

 

So by all means, take advantage of this time set apart in the calendar to ponder our relationship with God and with one another. If you want to, choose something to “give up” to help you stay aware of the sacrifice that Jesus made on your behalf and the concern for others that he calls on us to show. Or, if you prefer, choose something to add to your Christian walk during Lent, i.e. more time for prayer or Scripture reading, increased giving (time, talent, or treasure), becoming more deeply involved in the life and mission of your congregation.

 

And realize that doing or not doing any of these things will not make the least bit of difference in how God feels about you. Instead, they are ways that might make you feel a little closer to God. And the closer you feel to God, the more convinced you will become that God really, truly, loves you like crazy.

 

Happy Lent!

 

SPECIAL LENTEN SERVICES

We were blessed to have about 20 people from Communitas join us for our Ash Wednesday service last night. It was nice to have the sound of kids in the pews and to see our members mingling with them during the sharing of the peace.

 

Further opportunities to worship with brothers and sisters in Christ are coming up during Holy Week and I sincerely hope that more of us will take the chance to share in this special time with others of our tradition. Here is the schedule for Holy Week.

 

Maundy Thursday (March 29), St. Peter Lutheran Church, 6:30PM, Pastor Betty Krafft preaching.

Good Friday (March 30), Central Lutheran Church, 12 Noon, Intern Pastor Seth Rumage preaching.

Easter Vigil (March 31), Messiah Lutheran Church, 7:00PM, Pastor David Kappus preaching.

 

THIS SUNDAY AT CENTRAL

 

Van Driver: TBD

 

Education Hour: This week we look at the spiritual practice of…eating? Through the magic of DVD, Sara Miles (chef turned journalist turned church leader turned author) pushes at our ideas about the moral values we give to food. Have you ever found yourself judging other people based on what they eat? The Old Testament is full of rules and restrictions about what to eat, how to prepare it, when to eat it, and who to eat it with. What does it mean for us that Jesus ate with “tax collectors and sinners?”

 

Coffee Hour: Hosted by the Congregational Council in honor of February birthdays

 

In Worship: On Ash Wednesday the church began its journey toward baptismal immersion in the death and resurrection of Christ. This year, the Sundays in Lent lead us to focus on five covenants God makes in the Hebrew Scriptures and to use them as lenses through which to view baptism. First Peter connects the way God saved Noah’s family in the flood with the way God saves us through the water of baptism. The baptismal covenant is made with us individually, but the new life we are given in baptism is for the sake of the whole world.

 

Readings and Psalm

Genesis 9:8-17

The rainbow, sign of God’s covenant

Psalm 25:1-10 

Your paths, O Lord, are steadfast love and faithfulness. (Ps. 25:10)

1 Peter 3:18-22 

Saved through water

Mark 1:9-15 

The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness for forty days

 

The Power of Water

Water is an integral part of the created order. Water sustains and fosters life; too little or too much water can end it. A glance at the news headlines points out the destructive power of water’s presence or absence: In the United States alone, 2011 saw severe droughts afflict several parts of the country. On the opposite end of the spectrum, floods ravaged the Plains states in the spring and summer, displacing from their homes many people who live near rivers and streams. For those dwelling on or near the Eastern Seaboard, hurricane season is a tense time every year. Yet we need water as much or more than we need food, shelter, or the other “staples” of human life. Since ancient times we have established our communities near sources of water. We cannot survive long without it.

 

The tension between the saving and destructive powers of water fills today’s lectionary readings. The waters of the flood overwhelmed the world in the days of Noah, yet 1 Peter reminds us that God delivered Noah and his family from death. The Holy Spirit descends on Jesus only after his baptism by John, yet the Spirit immediately drives Jesus into the desert—a place defined by its lack of water. Through water and the word, in baptism our old, sinful self is put to death, and we are reborn as children of God. But the current that flows through these paradoxes is this: in death and life, in flood and drought, God remains faithful. As the psalmist reminds us, God’s mercy and steadfast love “are from everlasting.”

 

MIDWEEK LENTEN SCHEDULE BEGINS NEXT WEEK

We begin on Thursday the 22nd with our usual schedule of soup, ringing, worship, and singing. The sign-up sheet on iVolunteer is active and you can sign up by clicking here. Our theme this year is “Journey to the Easter Vigil” and our midweek services will focus on some of the vigil readings:

Feb. 22nd - Creation – Genesis 1:1-2:4a

March 1st – Flood – Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-18; 9:8-13

March 8th - Deliverance at the Red Sea – Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21

March 15th - Salvation Freely Offered to All – Isaiah 55:1-11

March 22nd – Deliverance from the Fiery Furnace – Daniel 3:1-19

 

OFFICE CLOSED ON MONDAY

Pleased be aware that the church office will be closed on the 19th in observance of the Presidents Day holiday.

 

GOD’S PERFECT GIFT

At least this year, you can’t have Valentine’s Day without “lent.” On February 14th, we celebrated VaLENTine’s Day…a recognition of love which coincides with the start of the season of contemplating the greatness of God’s love for us. This is a big occasion for card companies like Hallmark. Hallmark’s slogan is, “When you care enough to send the very best…” God cared enough to send his best, but it wasn’t just a card or even a messenger. Motivated by love for us, he sent his Son, not only the best, but the perfect gift (John 3:16). Let us seek to emulate God’s love by giving our very best.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, I thank you that your love is so great that you have withheld nothing. I thank you for the most indescribable gift, the gift of your Son who lived the perfect life and died and rose again so we can live as forgiven and redeemed people. In response to your goodness, I return to you the gifts you’ve given me and offer you the praise that belongs to you. Help me to serve you by serving others. Through Christ, who came not to be served but to serve, I pray. Amen.

Blessings on your stewardship journey!

See you in worship!

 

Peace,

Pastor Dave

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