We Brethren like to think we take Jesus very seriously. We say we have no creed but the New Testament; and if we had a creed within the New Testament, it would be the words of Jesus; and if we had to choose a creed out of Jesus’ words, we would probably choose the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus is incredibly important to us. From the stories he told about fields and animals to the miracles he performed, from the relationships he formed to the transformation he offered, from the lessons concerning living, dying, and resurrection - all of Jesus’ living is important to us.
In February, we begin the season of Lent. Lent is a season of preparation for the Church leading up to Easter. From Ash Wednesday (February 18) until Easter (April 5), Christians around the world participate in practices of self examination and self-denial. The Hagerstown Church of the Brethren will also participate in this important season of reflection, but in a uniquely Brethren way. Taking Jesus seriously, Pastor Audrey and I would like to invite every member of this congregation to read through the entire Gospel of Mark. Every day through the Lenten season there will be a new passage of Mark to read. You may choose to participate in two ways. First, you may elect to use the calendar of readings in this newsletter which will tell you the reading for each day and lists a couple questions for your own reflection. If keeping track of a piece of paper is not your thing, you may also elect to receive a daily email which will include the scripture reading for the day and the reflective questions. On Sundays during Lent, Pastor Audrey and I will preach on the Mark passage for the day. Together, we are going on a journey through Mark, from beginning to end, to be with and learn from Jesus. We hope all of you will join us.
As part of this Lenten journey, we also want to encourage those of you who are not members of this congregation to consider that commitment. On Palm Sunday, we will have a special service to accept new members during both the 9am and 11 am services. The four weeks preceding these services, Pastor Audrey and I will be hosting Lunch and Learn opportunities after the 11 am worship in the fellowship hall. These sessions will cover Brethren history, beliefs, ordinances, and congregational history. Anyone is welcome to attend. People considering membership should talk to a pastor soon and consider attending the Lunch and Learn.