Lenten Potpourri

  Lenten Potpourri 

     Lent, which begins this year on Wednesday, February 14th, is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock. Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts were   instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days.

    Included in this newsletter is a list of daily Lenten scriptures that I hope you will take time to read during the Lenten season. 

    In the Lenten tradition, I plan to lead a membership class during Lent. If any of you at Berlin Center or LeValley would like to join the church, please let me know.  If you are already a member, but would like to review What It Means to Be United Methodist, you are welcome to participate. I will also be performing baptisms on Easter Sunday for children or adults interested in becoming part of the body of Christ through the means of this sacrament. Lastly, there will be transfers of membership from other United Methodist Churches or other    denominations on Easter Sunday, as well.

  I will also be facilitating two studies during Lent. I will be at Berlin Center on Tuesdays at 10:00am and 6:30pm for a study on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. On Thursdays, I will be at LeValley at 10:00am and 6:30pm for a study titled The Way by Adam  Hamilton that focuses on the life and teachings of Jesus. I encourage you to participate in one or both of theses studies.

   Lenten soup lunches, including a meditation led by a local pastor, will again be held each Wednesday at noon at First Christian Church in downtown Ionia.   I hope you will consider attending one or all of these this year.  It is a wonderful time of worship, nourishment, and fellowship. I will be offering the devotion on Wednesday, February 21st.

  The Holy Week activities will be included in the March newsletter.  It is hard to fathom that Ash Wednesday is less than two weeks away.  It seems too early.  An Ash Wednesday service is not scheduled at Berlin Center or LeValley, but I will be offering Holy Communion and the imposition of ashes in the prayer room at LeValley any time during the day from 10:00am until 4:00pm. The ash cross on the forehead is an outward sign of our sorrow and repentance for sins. The celebration of Holy Communion in this context not only serves to underscore the terrible consequences of sin looming ahead at Good Friday, it also points to the hope that we have in God's grace and the possibility of a new future that lies ahead on Resurrection Sunday!

  Lent, a time to reflect and to realize that though life may be difficult right now, the sky is not falling.  If we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, the things that are important will surface in our lives and we will find joy in times of sorrow and stress. 
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.   

     Mark 12:30(NIV) 

Pastor Nancy 

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