Ash Wednesday.
Two insights resound
on that day: One that
we are dust and to dust
we shall return. The
second is to remember
that God took the dust,
breathed into it, and
created life. God took
the bloodied bones of
Jesus and brought life and bought life for us. The Word that brought the universe
into being and the Word that will be spoken in the end is the same Word revealed
in Jesus.
I have mentioned my sister, Marlene, on occasion in services. She was not a
person well suited for our world. On Sunday, Valentine’s Day, she passed away of
cancer. She had let her symptoms go undiagnosed and untreated due. She lacked
confidence in hospitals and lacked the desire to hear what the doctors would say
to her. After being forced to go to the hospital, it was too late for treatment. She
was referred to hospice and passed at the home of her daughter, Marissa. Her
other daughter, Dedra, my brother, Jim, and my sister, Marcia, from Gustavus
Adolphus were all there with her. I and my mother were able to talk to her by
phone. She died within days of her departure from the hospital in the most
beautiful way possible at that point in her life.
Valentine’s Day seemed an appropriate day for her to bid this world farewell. She
was one who wanted all things to be loved, even wounded creatures. She would
bring them home as a child. She even had raccoons living in her home at the end.
Her desire was to be buried near my parents. In them, she found a place to lay her
weary and at times confused head. I was able to talk to the cemetery and
accommodate her wish. A memorial service is set for February 27. I do not feel
safe in flying. Dying in these times is complex. Only 40 can attend the memorial
service and I will be there via zoom.
I have decided to organize a family gathering in October where we can safely
celebrate her life and the 100th birthday of my mother.
For all the twists and turns in my sister life, it was beautiful ending. Love was the
first word spoken to her and the last one.
I was reminded of father’s dying days, family was also there. My sister, Marcia,
and my mother were there for months to encourage him daily and daily he would
tell them, “I love you.” Not a phase which came quickly, in those days, to the lips
those of German heritage. People just knew it. It was not just family members
who felt that love. There were boxes of notes and cards from people whose lives
he had touched as their pastor.
During the season of Lent we will be reading the entire gospel of John and
discussing it on Wednesday evenings.
We do not know the name of the author of the Gospel of John. Within the Gospel,
John is not named. The “Beloved Disciple” is often referenced along with the
names of other disciples. The one name missing is John. The one who rests his
head on Jesus shoulder at the last supper is the “beloved disciple”, John. He is
named John in the synoptic gospels. Thus, the name John for the gospel.
John knew where he could lean his weary head. In John 20:31, he gives the reason
for writing his gospel: “so that you may believe . . . and by believing you may have
life in Jesus’ name. He wanted other people to know where they could lay their
head. We can lay our weary head, even our wounded head, on the same shoulder
as the beloved disciple.
Leaning our head on Jesus and experiencing the truth that we are beloved of God,
then lending our shoulder to those whose heads are weary and wounded is what
Lent calls on our to do. The world came into being through the Word of God
revealed in Jesus. The world will end in that same word of Love. Lent is about
letting some things go so we can embrace and live out that Word of Love which
was and is and will be the last Word.
God Bless you!
Pastor John Bunge
WORSHIP – After consideration with the council, it was decided that for now is
likely safest still to be outdoors, unless it is raining or cold. Churches may worship
indoors, for now. Our hope is that on Palm Sunday we can enter the sanctuary
then remain there for Holy Week and Easter and the Easter season, if cases
continue to go down. So, Sundays at 10 am on our campus and via zoom.
The Zoom link each week will be
DVUtJdz09 You can also go into Zoom each week and enter Meeting ID:
891 1879 2862 with the Passcode: Faith. We also record the service.
Today Ash Wednesday, February 17 7 pm – Ashes and communion service 7 p.m.
We will be zooming from the sanctuary. If you would like to join us, you can
inside. We will be introducing the Gospel of John.
Sunday February 21 – Dealing with Temptation
February 23 – Edith Lokker turns 100 years old. Let’s shower her with birthday
cards: Her address is 10622 Bryant Street #2, Yucaipa, CA 92399. Send her
birthday wishes. Also, if you can join in a drive-by birthday celebration, we
will be meeting on the 23rd @ 10 am in the church parking lot to drive to
her mobile park to do a drive by BD. Signs, noise makers, balloons are
appropriate. Edith is a long-time member of Faith having given years
making quilts, baking, being a part of Women’s Bible study groups, and
steady support of Faith.
February 24 – March 24 at 5 p.m. Wednesdays night Bible Study via zoom on the
Gospel of John based on the book: John: The Gospel of Light and Life by
Adam Hamilton. You have two resources. One is the Gospel of John. You
will have an assignment each week so we can discuss it together via zoom.
The second resource is Hamilton’s book, it is available on Amazon for
around $7. I think it best to order it on your own. But if you would like us to
buy it for you, let the office know. I look forward to discussing our reading
together with a warm bowl of your favorite soup. In the comfort of your
home or office. Our new days in the office here at church will be Tuesday
and Wednesday beginning the week of the 17th.
February 28 – Farewell and God’s speed to Vicki Rollins. This will be her last
Sunday at Faith before moving out of state with her daughter and
family. Do join us for coffee on the patio after the service to wish her well
with a thankful heart. She will likely be back from time to time to visit us
and relatives nearby.
Reminder — people who have Thrivent, remember to designate your 2020 Choice
dollars before the end of March. Designating them to Faith means thousands of
dollars for Faith – $450 has been received thus far. You can also contact the office
to coordinate requesting Action Teams. The Action Team of $250 each goes
along ways to help our Ministry.
• Pray for Jerry Mills who will be in surgery on Friday at UC Irvine for
pancreatic cancer surgery.
• Pray for the families those who passed of COVID.
Jose Hernandez, father of Jesus Hernandez who is our gardener.
Daniel Armenta’s family, friend of George and Pat.
Cesar Guevara’s family. He lost his sister, Ciria, and nephew, Esteban. The
funerals were last weekend.
Claudia Gambino, who passed of COVID January 10, friend of Carol and Ed.
Tom Grimes who passed in December.
• Continue prayers for Lynda for healing.
• Michael Shea’s daughter, Rebecca.
• Carol Fultz’ sister, Barbara Colangelo, still in in rehab.
• Friends of the Halls who have COVID Denise, Braxton and Mandy.
Landscaping improvements will be continuing out front; the next area will
be the northwest section of the front.
Our next pantry day is this Saturday, February 27. We could use pasta sauce
as we have a lot of pasta.
Eleanor Diaz has completed four quilts.
Jason Mills, son of Jerry and Bonnie is assisting the church in a legal matter
regarding a contract.
You are special people! We are a special congregation of FAITH!