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As I write this letter, it is only the twelfth day of Christmas, but here we are, as author Ann Weems might say, having to leave Bethlehem and put our face towards Jerusalem.  Gosh!  My Christmas tree is still up with all the decorations!  But they too will soon be down.  Soon, we will leave all the warmth that the Christmas season brings us and begin our journey in remembrance of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem.

We begin Lent on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, with our Ash Wednesday Worship Service at 7:00 p.m.  Whether one chooses to receive ashes on their forehead or not, we are reminded that we are dust and to dust we shall return. Believe it or not ashes were used in the first century as a cleansing agent for clothing.  So, for Christians, it is appropriate to use ashes to mark the sign of the cross of Christ on our foreheads as a reminder of several things.

First, the ashes are a reminder that indeed we have been created out of the dust of the earth and that one day we will return to dust as our body decomposes or we are cremated.  For some, this is a dismal thought.  But those who truly believe in the promise of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we hold on to the hope and promise of the resurrection, that one day we too will be resurrected in Christ to have eternal life.

Secondly, the ashes remind us of that cleansing ritual. Lent is a time to come before the Lord to repent of our sins both known and unknown to us, so that through his death and resurrection, through his grace and unconditional love for you and for me and for all people we receive his forgiveness, cleansing us from the impurities of our humanness so that we may be in a right relationship with him.

The theme for the midweek Wednesday Worship Services will be based on Mark 12: 28 – 30, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”   There are many scripture texts that speak of God’s love for you.

On February 14th, bring your valentine to dinner at 5:30 p.m. and then join us for worship as we gather to observe Ash Wednesday, beginning our journey through the Lenten Season.  Come hear the words from scripture of a God who extravagantly loves us and let us reflect on how we might express our love to God.

Love,
Pastor Dody