God’s beloved people,
During the first 3 weeks of February we are still in the season of Epiphany, the season of light. During these weeks of short daylight hours we celebrate the light of Jesus Christ. The last Sunday of Epiphany is always Transfiguration Sunday, which is Feb 19th this year. The light of Jesus shines brightly on the mountaintop for the disciples to see. Moses and Elijah appear to confirm that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. And the voice from heaven belts out, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” Matt 17:5.
Ash Wednesday falls on Feb 22nd this year and marks the beginning of the 40 day season of Lent. On Ash Wednesday we “Remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return.” And we are urged to “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” All are invited to a 7 pm Ash Wed worship service of repentance & forgiveness, imposition of ashes and Holy Communion. From Old Testament times ashes have been an outward sign of inner repentance. The cross of ashes we receive on our foreheads reminds us of Jesus’ death on the cross, which grants us the forgiveness of our sins. The cross of ashes also reminds us that we have been baptized into the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus and sealed as a beloved child of God forever. As disciples of Jesus, we are all commissioned to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...and teaching them all that I (Jesus) have commanded you.” Matt 28:20.
The disciplines of Lent help us in our spiritual struggles to follow more and more in the steps of our Savior Jesus to his cross, grave and glorious resurrection. The disciplines of Lent include repentance, prayer, fasting, giving to charity and doing good works for our neighbors in need.
Dust: I admit that my least favorite household task is dusting. Dust is everywhere. In recent years we have seen fascinating images from the Webb telescope of immense and colorful clouds of cosmic dust. This cosmic dust can become galaxies, stars and planets. In the beginning of humanity God breathed or “spirited” on some dust of the ground and the dust became a living being. Genesis 2:7.
Yep. We are all dirt. But we are good dirt, brought to life by the Holy Spirit of God and called to live God’s way of peace, love, righteousness, justice and joy in our community and world. When we die, we return to the dirt. But then we are re-created through the resurrection of our Savior Jesus to live forever in God’s glorious and eternal home.
Carry on in joyful service. Christ is with you. Pastor Dennis