I am encouraged by the light I see at the end of the tunnel, as winter and the pandemic grind on. The daffodil shoots popped up this week in our backyard, and the number of new cases and hospitalizations for Covid is beginning to decline. Thanks be to God! Add in the increasing rate of vaccination, and we have a recipe for hope. The prophet Jeremiah, in exile with his fellow Israelites, prayed to God out of desperation, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?” Jeremiah was definitely having a bad day when he penned those questions. Ordinarily, he was able to have hope and maintain his trust in God. Right now, after 11 months of confinement, we are tempted to join Jeremiah in his despair. But let us remember that God eventually delivered balm and liberation to the Israelites, sending them back home to their beloved land. And right now physicians and other medical personnel are injecting lifesaving vaccines into the arms of Americans, and the curve is beginning to flatten. So, let us continue to keep our guard up and pray to God for patience and restraint so that we can hasten our liberation from this terrible pandemic.
Ash Wednesday, February 17th, is the first day of Lent, the six-week period the church has traditionally observed to prepare for the celebration of Easter. I hope you will join us at 7:00 p.m. on Ash Wednesday for a special Zoom worship, which will include communion, prayers for healing and wholeness for loved ones, and the imposition of ashes. Since we will be placing the ashes on our own foreheads, if you do not have a fireplace or fire pit with ashes in them, a good substitute is cocoa powder or ground coffee mixed with a little water or cosmetics. During the prayer for healing and wholeness you will have an opportunity to send me the name of the person for whom you desire prayers via the private chat feature on the bottom of your screen. We will explain how to use that just before the prayers begin.
A good way to explain the season of Lent is the image of a journey. One of the ways Jesus invited people into God’s Kingdom was to say “follow me.” In the heart of the old city of Jerusalem is a route called the Via Dolorosa, which is the path Jesus used to walk from his jail cell at the Antonia Fortress to Golgotha carrying his cross. This phrase literally means the “way of pain.” For centuries Christians have walked this path, stopping at nine stations where Jesus experienced key events of his last day: from his trial by Pilate to his words to his mother. The word the early Christians chose to call themselves was The Way. Perhaps this was because Jesus told them to take up their cross and follow him. If we do this, we cannot dodge all the pain, suffering, and disappoint that happens in life. But through faith in God’s mercy and grace, made possible by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we can survive all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and persevere.
So, I invite you to walk with me on the Via Dolorosa during the season of Lent, knowing the Jesus walked it ahead of us, that we walk in his steps, and that God is with us every step of the way. I hope to “see” you in worship on Valentine’s Day and on Ash Wednesday!
Please know that Trinity's elders, deacons, and staff are praying for you, your loved ones, and your friends. If you should have a care concern or celebration you'd like to share, please email David or the church office.
Amanda and Jon Bernardina have a new daughter, Nora Grace, born on February 11, 2021, weighing 6 lbs. and 5 oz. Since she was a few weeks early, Nora is receiving care in the NICU for some breathing support. Please keep Nora and her family in your prayers. Nora's older sister is Hazel, and Bill and Lois Mercer are the proud grandparents.
Lisa Baildon will have surgery today, February 12th, involving her gallbladder due to the extreme pain she's experienced recently. Please pray for a successful surgery and a swift recovery for Lisa. Her surgery was originally scheduled for February 23rd.
We're happy to report that Lynn Kline is improving from her bout with Covid-19 and has gone home from the hospital. Please continue your prayers as she and Brian return to health after the virus.
The Session has calledthe annual meeting of the congregation to take place at 12:00 noon on Zoom on February 14th for the purpose of a) hearing reports on our ministry and mission in 2020; b) hearing a report on the new budget adopted by the session for 2021; c) electing three at-large members to serve on the congregational nominating committee; d) hearing the annual statistical report to the General Assembly; and for conducting any business pertaining to the above. Here is the link for the meeting. If you have a QR reader app on your phone, Laura Piazza has supplied that as well. Thank you, Laura!