February 14 Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine’s Day
Bishop David Nagler wrote this a few
weeks ago. I wanted to pass it along:
February 14, 2024, will hold two
“holidays” that seem to be moving in
opposite directions. Valentine’s Day is a
Hallmark creation dedicated to
expressions of love.
Ash Wednesday is a time of remembering our finitude; that each of us and all whom we
love are impermanent.
On the surface, these commemorations seem an odd pair. “Bring a date to church and
get an ash cross from a person who reminds them that they are dust”. I would argue
that if we go deeper, they are a perfect pairing.
An ancient symbol for impermanence in the Celtic tradition is the triskelion. It is a circle,
sometimes depicted with three legs or waves chasing one another around in an endless
cycle. It is meant as a reminder that Spring follows Winter, Winter follows, Fall, and Fall
follows Summer. Times of scarcity follow times of abundance. Times of connection
follow times of loneliness. It is an echo of Ecclesiastes 3 which sings, “To everything,
there is a season and a time under Heaven.”
The key to living this fundamental reality in a
spiritually healthy way is to not get overly attached to
any season or any moment in your history. And yet,
to celebrate its beauty to feel deeply, and to not deny
the power that a moment can have on us. It is a
delicate dance between not distancing ourselves
from what is happening in our lives, but also
remembering that all things fade away. New things
Anyone or anything that we love does not truly
belong to us. They are shooting stars that shine brilliantly and then are gone. When they
go, they return to the Source; to God. We feel the weight of their empty space and
grieve. We also know that this grieving will shape us into a form that will be new for us.
The grief we feel is a mirror of the love we shared. The hollow ache is an echo of the
One year on Ash Wednesday, I invited the congregation I was serving to a different
practice of the imposition of ashes. I traced the ashen cross on the forehead of the first
person who came forward and proclaimed the truth, “Remember that you are dust, and
to dust you shall return.” Then this person turned and did the same to the next person in
line. This sequence continued for the whole assembly. Tears flowed when husbands
made a black cross on the forehead of their beloved spouses. Voices cracked when
parents reminded children that they too would not live forever. As they say, it got real
So, on February 14th we will bear witness to love and impermanence. Some of us will
spend time with loved ones. Others will be alone. Some will go to church and receive a
cross and a word of remembrance. Others will be unable to bear that this year. No
matter what you choose, remember that you are loved in this impermanent form. Please
consider a Lenten practice of telling someone that you love them every day until Easter
(and then beyond if it makes you and them happy!) And let us not cling to any season
too tightly. Our fragile planet will do another lap around the sun. People will come into
our lives and depart. All of it is held in Divine hands.
Peace and All Good,
Many of you know I enjoy
cheering on the Chiefs. On
Sunday I enjoyed watching
them prevail with my son
and his wife who was
wearing a 49ers jacket,
quite an exciting game.
As Bishop Dave said the
circles go around and the
49ers will have other
chances and the Chiefs may
fade in the future. But for now, Connie and I celebrated the team we used to
watch lose as we sat in the stands in the snow.
By the way, we have no clarity about who St. Valentine was. We do know he was
a witness to the love that does not fade as the seasons go around.
Reminder Ash Wednesday Service at 7 pm in the sanctuary. Lenten Souper
Studies will be on Wednesdays at 5 pm in the fireside room.
Jesus source of Grace and Truth. Help us to love one another deeply and
unconditionally, following the example of your pure and selfless love. Bless our
relationships with understanding, patience, and compassion. May we be open to
receiving and giving love. May we like St. Valentine be instruments of love toward
Grace and Peace,
Pastor John Bunge
This year as we celebrate Faith’s 75th year, we want to lift up the ministries among
us. Last week we celebrated the ministry of Irmengard Jennings our organist and
music director for 20-plus years. She reminded us that she was confirmed and
married at Faith as well. Thanks to all who contributed to her thank you card, to
the Karen Hall for finding such a wonderful garden gift, and to those who helped
with the reception afterward.
LAUREN SCHAFER our Office Assistant’s hours are: 12:30-3:00 M – Th.
Pastor will be in the office Tuesdays and Wednesdays through March.
Time of Meditation – Members of Nelson Hall’s class want to keep meeting to
pray for those on our prayer list and experience oneness in meditation. The
chapel will be the meeting place. Nelson will be our leader – on Thursdays @ 1 pm.
Confirmation Classes continue on Sundays at 11:15 am.
Next Pantry – February 24. Thanks for your response with grocery bags.
Pick up – Thanks to Joe Koenig, our current saintly man of Faith, who picks up the
food from Feeding America on Thursday mornings at 6 am. We could use a
backup just in case. Let Carol know if you are interested.
Choir – We practice at 9:00 am before services.
WELCA – The Next Women’s Bible Study will be Saturday, March 4 at 9:30 a.m. in
the Fireside Room.
QUILTING – Emily Smith’s Group (909.255.2452) has completed 15 for Central
City Lutheran Mission and 3 for Lutheran World Relief. They do have some lap
quilts still for sale.
Good News Kim Guevarra’s brother Jim was able to move forward with stem cell
therapy and it has jump-started his immune system. We pray that the stem cells
continue to be healthy and multiply. Kim’s mother Carol is in Canada waiting for
Brenda Batt’s grandson Bronson has not had a headache for a few weeks. Thanks
for the prayers.
Eloise was hospitalized over Christmas but is home recovering. Her blood
pressure is coming down.
The Koenig Family – Joe and Joey were back in church. Thanks for being acolyte.
Jeanne’s needs our continued prayers. We are also praying for their daughter, Jessica,
and grandson Lucas.
Erwin appreciates our continued prayer for Lynda.
Kyle and Dana would appreciate prayers for their son, Kevin’s, Mother-in-Law,
Lisa, suffering from cancer.
Cesar and Kim would also appreciate prayers for their sons, Tim, and Kyle.
The Sheas would appreciate prayers for Rebecca and Chris Herandez in need of
housing for themselves and the twins. Nice to see Mike in church.
Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack.
BULLETIN BOARD FOR FIRESIDE ROOM
We will be expanding the bulletin board in the Fireside Room so we can display
lots of pictures of Faith in action. If you have any that you have taken, please
forward via email to Debi Hitter, email@example.com. She will print them for the
bulletin board and pass them on to Lauren for the website.
FEBRUARY FELLOWSHIP PLANS for 2024
FEBRUARY 11 HAPPY VALENTINES’ CELEBRATION
with Jennifer & Richard making waffles
complete with sausages/fruit/waffle bar
FEBRUARY 18 to be determined.
FEBRUARY 25 11:00 – light lunch
11:20- 12:00 – GAME TIME – BINGO!!!!!!
Many have asked for it and said it was fun – so here it is
PRIZES – If you have any items– male, female, younger teens, kids
— that could be used for prizes, please mark Bingo and leave it on
the pew in the office.
We will be playing several times in the year, so please help us with small–
medium prizes. – before you give away items, please consider us your Good Will
Mission – We have a place to store them. Thanks!
February 14 Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine’s Day