Rustlings (February 2, 2015)

          It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
          There’ll be dry palms for burning
          And sinners returning
          And prayers filled with tears.
          It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Okay, everyone doesn’t enjoy the season of Lent. It happens to be one of my favorite seasons of the church year. Maybe it’s my Roman Catholic background. Maybe it’s my contemplative, melancholic edge. Maybe it’s the evangelical pounding of my adolescence that predisposes me to like songs about crosses and blood and hills far away. Maybe I just have lots of sins to confess! Whatever the reason, I really like the Lenten Season. I think this year’s season will be a rich time of worship for you.

Two Wednesday evening events will prepare us for the living of these Lenten days. On Wednesday, February 11, we will celebrate the Burning of the Palms. The ashes used on Ash Wednesday are the residual of the palms waved during Palm Sunday the year before. (Yes, we save these. After each Palm Sunday service, they are piled on top of a holy file cabinet in a holy closet to await their burning the next year.) We will sing, pray and preach in the Fellowship Hall, then move to the parking lot for the burning of the palms. Then, on Wednesday, February 18, we will gather in the Sanctuary for the celebration of Ash Wednesday. I hope you will make an effort to attend each of these services – not just for your own spiritual nurture, but for the nurture of our church. This is a holy season. Let’s hold it and live into it together…

 – Jim