Lent begins on the 22nd, with our 7 pm Ash Wednesday service. This is a day of reflection and repentance.
During the Wednesdays in Lent, we will be studying the life of Paul, who was the epidemy of Repentance and Reflection.
Here was a man who was Saul of Tarsus, a Jewish scholar fiercely persecuting the early church. Jesus stopped him, knocking him off his horse and calling to him out of the heavens. That encounter on the road to Damascus changed his life forever. He became an evangelist to the whole Mediterranean world and authored about a third of the New Testament, with letters he would write to the churches. He urged them to repent of their wrongs and receive more fully the grace of God. His life was a testament to the Love and Grace of God reaching out into our lives.
There are times in our lives when we are knocked off our high horses and called to repent (which means change direction). Ash Wednesday is such a chance to examine our lives and accept God’s Grace, without the need for a fall.
I so appreciate your thoughts and prayers at the death of my mother, Myrene Bunge. She died Sunday morning the 19th with my sister, Marcia sleeping by her side. Family and friends surrounded her the final days of her life, singing hymns, praying, remembering stories — so many stories. She was a gracious and caring mother and grandmother.
One of my favorite remembrances of her had to do with her travels to Southern California with all her grandchildren. Normally, one at a time, until all ten had been to Disneyland, the beach and wherever else they wanted to go.
As part of her trips to theme parks, we would put grandmother in a wheelchair. There was too much walking in those parks for her knees and ankles, which even in those days would suffer. The added benefit was that people in a wheelchair would get some special treatment in line. The down side of that was that she would need to go on the ride for that to be an advantage. That was fine for her going on “It’s a Small World” or “Peter Pan”. The trouble was we wanted to go on the more thrilling rides as well, like Mr. Toad’s Wild ride, the Teacups, Indiana Jones or Splash Mountain.
Those head shaker rides were a pain I am sure for her at the age of eighty plus. But she was a trooper. She did it for her grandchildren of whom she was proud. They were all there for her at the end either in person or via facetime.
Ash Wednesday is a day to remember that we do not have “all the time in the world”. Even if we live to be 101 and are still conscious, we need to check ourselves in the mirror. When we are on a wild ride that is a head shaker, we normally check ourselves. Ash Wednesday is a chance to look at the world in a more mellow, “It’s a small world” way.
My mother’s passing has caused me to ponder priorities. But truly every Ash Wednesday calls to me to humbly inquire of God how I might be of service. The heavens may not open for us as they did for Peter, James, and John. Jesus might not knock us off our horse like Saul, who converts to Paul. But Ash Wednesday calls for us to focus on this period of our lives.
Perhaps we are being called to make a sacrifice.
During Lent I give up sodas to live a healthier life and remind myself that this is a special season. Perhaps it is a time to prioritize family or to be generous with your time and finances. This year Connie and I have made lots of plans to vacation with family. We also want to give in a special way to the victims of the war in Ukraine and those who suffer from the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Connie and I have decided to match whatever the members of the congregation give during the Lenten season. Just mark your envelope with your gift – they will go to Lutheran World Relief which is an A++ charity and they will be doubled as they go to those in need.
Ash Wednesday is just the beginning of the Lenten Season. There may be other occasions for us to look in the mirror during these 40 days. Do not miss the chance to jump on the wild ride that God has for you.
Prayer – from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 3
I pray that out of the glorious riches of God, you may be strengthened with power… so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…rooted and established in love, may you grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the Love of Christ…may you be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God…who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.
Grace and Peace, Pastor John
Ash Wednesday Service – February 22 – 7 pm
Next Sunday, February 26 – Resisting Temptation
Confirmation @ 11:15 am to noon
Every Wednesday in Lent – 5pm Soup Supper with Bible Study on Paul
Directory for 2023
We want to start fresh in 2023 with a new church directory to include all Friends and Members at Faith.
Thank you to Debi Hitter for taking professional pictures.
Sundays in the Fireside Room after church on February 26, March 5 & 12th
Makeup day on Monday, March 13th, 2:00 by appointment.
Or other arrangements can be made by calling Moe in the office.
Moe has put together the information part of the directory. It is available in the narthex for you to double check.
Moe or Connie will also be there on the Sundays to ensure your information is correct.
Volunteers We also have signups for volunteers for Coffee Hour hosts, Acolytes, Altar Flowers, Greeters is in the Fireside. We have a complete list of possibilities and explanations in the narthex as well.
Music Are you interested in bell choir or a choir or just singing with Pastor as a duet or quartet. Let Pastor know by responding to this email. Rehearsals for bells would be at 6:30 on Thursday nights. What a great way to learn new skills under the direction of our talented Maestro, Irm. If we have enough for a choir, they would rehearse at 7:15 p. Members of the choir must be able to read music.
Pantry Our next pantry days are February 11 and 25. If you know of someone in need of food who cannot make our normal second and fourth Saturday mornings, please give Carol Jensen a call @ 951.217.2838. We also have adult diapers, if you know people in need of those.
If you are a Thrivent member, please use your Action Team to purchase items for the pantry. Remember as well to direct your Choice dollars. We always have the need for pasta sauce, cereal, canned fruit and Tuna Helper. Thanks to Connie and Elaine for hanging the clothing on racks, which will be put out on Pantry Day. We will let you know when we will be able to accept donations of clothing again.
Office Tuesday and Wednesday, February 21 and 22, 28 March 1.
Quilting – You can join Eleanor, Emily, Paula and Dona on Tuesdays at church or do part of the work at home. Our new visitor, Dana, also has a desire to help. We have all kinds of material available to use. Please talk to Eleanor @ 951-623-3496.
Thread – Geri gave the quilters more spools of thread than they could use. If you would like to purchase large full spools for $1 each just let Eleanor know. It goes to help purchase other quilting material.
MEMBER UPDATES AND PRAYERS AND CELEBRATIONS
- Celebration – Emily Smith’s mother, Angie Perisits, fell and broke her hip two weeks ago, but was in church on Sunday.
- Bill Martin was hospitalized this past week.
- Pastor’s mother, Myrene Bunge passed on February 9th in St. Joseph, MO. The funeral is Saturday March 4. Pastor will be gone Sunday March 5. Pastor George Crisp will be here.
- Mimi Houghtaling lost her long time good friend, Al, just after the first of the year.
- We want to remember the Koenig family.
- Jeanne surgery was postponed and other procedures and test will be attempt first.
- Jessica Calendar, the Koenig’s daughter has been diagnosed with CLL leukemia.
- Lucas Shea, Jeanne and Joe’s grandson is undergoing psychological treatment.
- Eleanor Diaz would appreciate prayers for her sister, Tonya, and her son and family.
- The Cady’s would appreciate prayers for his mother, Donna, who moved to a care facility and for their daughter’s friend, Brooke, who suffered a stroke.
- Kim Guevara’s brother, Jim, is much improved and is working with Mayo clinic with a long stem cell procedure.
- Caesar’s sister, Maria, was diagnosed with Lymphoma.
- Becky Malinowski is still going through chemo treatments.
- Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack.
February 22 – Ash Wednesday Service 7 pm.
March 1 – 29 Lenten Soup Suppers will begin March 1 through all the Wednesdays in March. We will meet for soup and study in the Fireside room at 5 pm each week. We will study the Life of St. Paul with video and study material.
April 7 – Good Friday
April 9 – Easter