Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in this season of Lent. It is difficult to believe that it is already March and Spring is just around the corner while our plants and trees are already beginning to bloom. This is a time for new life to begin and not only in the Circle of Life that we see in the world around us. It is an exciting time to be in the Church and to be the Church.
I spent the first part of this week at the Holston Minister’s Convocation in Pigeon Forge (disclosure: I am on the design team for this event). The theme was “Praying Together.” Our workshop leaders were Dr. Barbara Peacock and Dr. Luther E. Smith, Jr. It was a powerful time of prayer and learning about prayer. Can I just say that the Holy Spirit was present in our time together and I came away from Convocation energized and filled with what the Spirit had for me. I hope to share some of what I learned with you in this season of Lent.
We are taking a second attempt at a lectionary based sermon series that I started for Lent 2020, Boot Camp for the Soul. The first attempt was abandoned in the second week as we dealt with the disruption that was the COVID-19 pandemic. I pray that we can get through this series this year with no major disruptions… at least not like what we had in 2020!
The first Sunday of Boot Camp for the Soul can be found here. The remaining Sundays in Lent play out in the following manner:
Lent 1 February 26 Theme: The Need For Change
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Lent 2 March 5 Theme: Reset
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
Lent 3 March 12 Theme: Hydrate
Lent 4 March 19 Theme: Redefined
1 Samuel 16:1-13
Lent 5 March 26 Theme: Dead End
The following Sunday (April 2) is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. We will celebrate both the Palms and the passion with a special service of the Word with Holy Communion. We are planning a service on Holy Thursday (April 6) at 7:00 PM and a Good Friday Service (April 7) at 12:00 Noon.
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of the Holston Conference is inviting us to participate in A Weekend of Prayer on March 25 and 26. The event kicks off with a simultaneous gathering on Saturday, March 25 from 10:00 to 1:00 in several locations across the conference. Here in the Scenic South District we will gather at Christ United Methodist Church in East Brainerd. You can register to participate in the Saturday event here. We will continue this emphasis on prayer in our worship service on the 26th. This should be a special time for us and I hope that you will plan to participate as you can.
Finally, in this time of turmoil in The United Methodist Church, I share a message of hope from Bishop Thomas Bickerton, President of the Council of Bishops here.
There are some other opportunities for ministry that are working through the pipeline as I type this missive. I have been in conversation with a representative of Alcoholics Anonymous about using our Fellowship Hall as a meeting space for folks in Recovery. I plan to share this conversation with the Leadership Team in the next few weeks. Pairing the space that we have at McFarland with an established 12 Step ministry will be a win-win for all of us.
In this period of Lent, I pray that we will all take time to examine our relationship with God and each other. I pray that as we make this examination that we will remember not only who we are but whose we are.
As always, I am blessed to be your pastor.