Announcements March Ministry Schedule
Please help us fill our ministry schedule.
Sign-up on the table by the elevator.
Greeters and hospitality needed next week
Mark your Calendars: Holy Week Services
Maundy Thursday, April 14 6pm
Good Friday, April 15 6pm
You are Invited!
Bring a friend and join us as we
"Get together for Faith Sharing and Prayer Needs"
This group will meet the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month from 11:30-1:00 in the River Room at Familiar Grounds Coffee Shop in New London.
Contact Sharon Harwood at 920-858-2626 with questions.
Men's Group: All men of the parish are invited to the Men's Group every other Sunday at 8:15 am (March13 & 27). Contact Mike Sperger with questions 920-982-7575.
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be always acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord our strength and our redeemer.
The ashes are Gone:
We’ve washed them off our faces:
But as we enter the first Sunday of lent:
We may still feel the dust and darkness of those ashes:
Especially as we hear the story of Jesus tempted in the desert:
And his encounter with the devil:
The story reminds us of everything we’ve been taught about sin, the devil, and temptation.
We’ve put away the Alleluias:
And we can FEEL the absence.
And we have 40 long days to think about it:
Forty long days when we’re reminded to repent and be saved.
Is this what Lent is really all about?
If we go back to our childhoods,
We might remember waiting for Lent to be over:
Where we can get back to the real world:
Where we trade in this somber season for the long awaited Easter celebration.
But look at our readings today.
If we really pay attention to what we’re hearing:
There’s a whole lot more light than darkness:
A whole lot more graciousness poured on us by our God than punishment.
A lot less damnation:
And a whole lot more love and acceptance.
We’re reminded about the temptations of sin:
We’re offered the unstopping gift of forgiveness:
And the opportunity to model Jesus in the best way we can.
Lent can help us go deep into ourselves:
Not to make us feel guilty:
But to make us responsible:
To push us to really be who God has created us to be.
Look at today’s readings for proof:
Deuteronomy shows us plenty of light:
God has given the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey:
Which is an image of peace and beauty.
All they have to do is show gratitude through their offerings.
God heard the people’s cries:
And responded with Loving grace.
Today’s Psalm says:
“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him:
I am with him in trouble:
I will rescue him and bring him to Honor.”
This is another image that should remind us that God continues to hear our cries:
Even when they’re moaned from the depths of our sinfulness:
God doesn’t banish us away:
At the beginning of Lent:
We’re reminded that we’re not alone:
God has not abandoned us:
But even more so: God is “so bound to us in love”
That’s what the psalm says:
Bound to us in love:
That even when we are focused only on ourselves:
EVEN to the point of sin:
God is with us:
Bound to us in love:
Ready to brush the ash from our faces.
Paul says the same thing to the Romans:
“The word is near you:
On your lips and in your heart.”
And he doesn’t just mean the word of faith:
But the WORD with a capital “W”
The WORD of God: Jesus.
GOD IS NEAR YOU:
On your lips and in your heart:
“You will be saved,” Paul says:
“Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”
What news could be better than that?
This first Sunday of Lent is looking less and less somber!!
And more and more hope-filled!
(As it should)
And that’s not even all:
Notice: In the Gospel story:
That Jesus didn’t send satan:
Immediately to hell.
I mean: couldn’t Jesus just have Gotten rid of the sin-filled tempter?
Just banished him away?
But that’s not what happens.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus only responds to the temptations by reminding his tempter that God alone is worthy of our worship and service?
There was no argument:
No casting out into darkness:
But God alone as the refuge, and stronghold in times of trial.
The gospel reminds us that Jesus, too, was faced with temptations.
He was, after all, fully human as well as fully divine.
He knows what we face.
He knows the power that tries to turn our hearts from God.
Yet Jesus is much better at dealing with it all than we are!
And in this season of lent:
We remember that:
Like the ashes on our forehead at the beginning of the journey:
We are reminded that we are imperfect:
Yet no imperfection is too great for God’s mercy and grace.
We, too, have been promised a land flowing with milk and honey:
As we journey through lent:
To the hope-filled resurrection:
Let us know that not all is somber and sin:
There’s also a lot to be joyful about in Lent.
A lot to be grateful for:
And more love and mercy from our Great God than we can ever imagine.
Don’t look at Lent as merely somber:
Consider it to be a quiet moment of reflection:
To reflect on the hope:
And the love that God promises us:
At all times,
And all places:
Even during Lent.
Enjoy the weekly sermons at anytime.