Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!
First of all, yes, my husband and I are back from our trip to Israel and Egypt. Yes, it was a wonderful (and exhausting!) trip. Thank you for your interest in how it was. Some have suggested a slide show presentation. We’ll look at how and when to do that soon.
This week was Ash Wednesday. For those who are curious, we had 45 people get Ashes to Go. Many are unconnected to a church yet they still took the opportunity to connect to the ritual of the church. To me, that’s the importance of those rituals, particularly the Sacraments, because they connect at a level much deeper than understand. So keep inviting those friends who are reluctant to come with you to church, especially to the special Sundays and other days like Ash Wednesday. While we may never know what would connect with someone, oftentimes the connection comes through rituals.
This week in my Lenten Bible Study, we talked about the Psalms of lament. Lament Psalms are addressed to God, express our sorrow for our sin or protest a situation, ask God to act and somewhat unexpectedly these Psalms usually end with praising God or expressions of hope. I think this is a time for lament in our Denomination and in the churches as we come closer to General Conference. Both colleagues and congregation members alike are feeling the strain of the uncertainty about the future of the United Methodist Church. What I hear most of all is that we don’t want to separate. Friends, neither do I.
In response to Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem, God said, “14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Please commit to be in prayer for the work of the General Conference between now and May 5th when the General Conference begins. The Upper Room is preparing prayer resources that will be released soon so you may want to check their website at www.upperroom.org or consider writing and praying your own prayer of lament to pour out your heart to God and petition him to act.
Finally, on March 15th at 2:30 p.m. I will be having a large group meeting to answer any final questions about our consideration of becoming One Church with Two Languages. I am pleased to say that Rev. Ed Lacosta and his wife Yuri will be there. If we approve this later in March, Pastor Ed would be the pastor working with us to form the Spanish-speaking congregation. They are a wonderful ministry couple who love God deeply and I hope you will come and meet them.
God bless you, Pastor Kim