Pastor's Blog - February 2012
Happy Groundhog’s Day! This folksy holiday on February 2 marks the mid-point of the Winter season. It’s hard to believe we’re half way through the toughest season of the year. But hang in there, Easter is on its way.
Another significant holiday in February comes on the 22nd – Ash Wednesday. This day signifies the beginning of Lent on the Christian calendar. We then have six weeks to prepare our lives for Holy Week and Easter. Lent is an old English word for Spring. It’s traditionally 40 days of fasting and penance to get our hearts ready for the reenactment of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Lenten Bible Study. You are invited to join in a six-week Bible study of the parables of Jesus. It will begin on Ash Wednesday (February 22) and conclude on the Wednesday in Holy Week (April 4). Using John Indermark’s Parables and Passion: Jesus’ Stories for the Days of Lent, there will be daily readings and a weekly gathering for reflection, discussion, and prayer. Two meeting times are offered each Wednesday: 1:00 –2:00 pm and 6:30 –7:30 pm. I’ll be leading the classes. Class sign-up deadline is February 12. Suggested cost of book is $15.
Brethren Service Offering. We are also instituting a special offering program this month to highlight the outreach ministries of our congregation. Called Brethren Service Offerings, each month this year on the second Sunday there will be a Minute for Mission presentation in worship describing a specific outreach of our church. For instance on February 12 we’ll hear about how our denomination through the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board reaches out with the good news of Christ. The following week the Brethren Service Offering will be received. Each month (except in July and August), a different ministry will be highlighted followed with an opportunity to give. This program is organized by our Service and Outreach Commission.
To conclude, here’s a prayer for Groundhog Day, written by Mark Herringshaw who lives in wintry Minnesota. May it give you hope for the Lord of the Spring.
“Lord, we don’t know how long we will have to wait for an awakening of a 'spiritual spring' but let it come! Lord, bring a freshness, and a day of new beginnings for us. Bring life and growth and joy and faith and fruitfulness. We admit it, we’re tired of the winter in our souls. Refresh us now. Lord, you are Spring itself. Come. Return, and bring your gifts of rebirth and life again! In Jesus…”*