Methodist Messenger: March, 2014

(Note: “Getting Acquainted” is about Tess Schumacher this month.)

From the Pastor

Next Wednesday March 5th at noon, the church, once again will set off on its Lenten journey with an Ash Wednesday service. We know that the cross, and ultimately the resurrection are where we are headed, but we don’t know what experiences and insights we might have on the way.  During our Ash Wednesday service, we will receive the mark of the cross on our forehead as a visible sign to the world that we are starting a journey toward Jesus death and resurrection.  It is the beginning of our preparation for this journey, a time for repentance, placing before God the ways that we have turned away from God, repenting of these and moving forward. It is because God loves us that we are able to repent and change our ways.

As we repent, we are reconciled with God and in many cases with friends, family and strangers alike. With Gods help, we can take control of our lives and turn away from those things that cause us to sin. New beginnings can bring healing and wholeness as we open ourselves to the love and mercy of God, and become more aware of that love for us all.

On Ash Wednesday as we remember the journey Jesus took for our sins, we are reminded of our own mortality.  We are all on a journey that leads to death and at some point we turn to ashes and return to the earth.  But if we know Christ, we know that death is not the end but only the beginning of a journey that will last for eternity.

What a privilege to travel this journey with Jesus and be reminded of God’s unfailing love as he gives his Son Jesus for our sins. We are truly blessed! Thanks be to God.

Barbara Essen

Rocks and Ripples, March 22, 2014, 9 am to 4 pm, Simpson UMC, Pullman.  Keynote Address: “Achievable Discipleship” Rev. Daniel Foster, Puget Sound District Superintendent. Do you ever wish you felt closer to God, or that your church was more focused on Christ? Then you won’t want to miss this practical approach to personal and corporate discipleship. Be prepared to come away changed! And choose from 15 Workshops. More information and registration form in coffee room.

Church History:  I am looking for families and individuals to interview, and hear from about their family’s experiences.  I am very interested in learning all I can about the different families’ history.  The interview would not be made public, without the excusive permission of those being interviewed.

If anyone would be interested please phone me at 208-983-0089.  I am very interested in learning about what it was like form them back before and when they began attending church.

As well as their experiences, my office is open from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, unless I have to go out and shovel snow, or something else may come up.  Everyone’s welcome to come upstairs to the new history office of the church which I call “History Haven.”  It is at the top of the stairs and the very first room on the corner.  By Dave Hammond, Historian

Cluster churches’ Lenten Service at Lewiston First UMC, will be on Sunday, April 13, 4 pm, all are invited. Save the date now and let Pastor Barb know if you will be going.  They would like an idea as to how many are coming! Our church choir is practicing a Special for that day too!

 

Camas Prairie Food Bank:  We are in need of canned vegetables (not corn); canned meals or meal helpers such as chili, canned spaghetti etc; boxed meal helpers (quick sides, hamburger helper etc.) We also need a large box of powdered laundry detergent – we bag it into approx 4 load for emergencies. Donation update: We will be moving the donation bin to the back door (Friday)as we will finally have the roof over the breezeway fixed. This will keep the area dryer. Donations can be put on the back porch, in the blue bin on back porch or on the table. Food and or financial donations can also be dropped off at Sterling Bank and Community Action. Financial donations can also be put in our donation account at US Bank. Financial donation being mailed to us – please use P.O. Box 686 in Grangeville. We also have an account at Cash & Carry. That money is used to purchase needed items on sale throughout the year. We keep our garden and food bank donations separated so if you have a preference please let us know. All donations are used as requested.

Thanks, and have a great day.  Carlene, Camas Prairie Food Bank, Inc., P.O. Box 686, Grangeville, Id.  83530, Location: 411 E. North St., 983-5475.  Website is:  http://www.camasprairiefoodbank.org/

 From Alive magazinehttp://alivenow.upperroom.org/2011/01/25/lent-101/

What is Lent?  Lent is a season of the Christian Year where Christians focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God.  When is Lent?  It’s the forty days before Easter. Lent excludes Sundays because every Sunday is like a little Easter. Basically, it’s about one-tenth of a year (like a tithe of time).  Mardi Gras is the day before Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday.  This year it’s from February 13 (Ash Wednesday) to March 31 (Easter), 2013.

Mardi Gras?  What does that have to do with JESUS??  Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday.”  It refers to the day before Lent starts.  Since Lent always starts on a Wednesday, the day before is always a Tuesday. And it’s called “Fat” or “Great” because it’s associated with great food and parties.  In earlier times, people used Lent as a time of fasting and repentance. Since they didn’t want to be tempted by sweets, meat and other distractions in the house, they cleaned out their cabinets. They used up all the sugar and yeast in sweet breads before the Lent season started, and fixed meals with all the meat available. It was a great feast!   Through the years Mardi Gras has evolved (in some places) into a pretty wild party with little to do with preparing for the Lenten season of repentance and simplicity. Oh well. But Christians still know it’s origin, and hang onto the true Spirit of the season.  So the real beginning of Lent is Ash Wednesday? Yes. Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras, usually begins with a service where we recognize our mortality, repent of our sins, and return to our loving God.  We recognize life as a precious gift from God, and re-turn our lives towards Jesus Christ.  We may make resolutions and commit to change our lives over the next forty days so that we might be more like Christ.  In an Ash Wednesday service, usually a minister or priest marks the sign of the cross on a person’s forehead with ashes.

Why ashes? In Jewish and Christian history, ashes are a sign of mortality and repentance.  Mortality, because when we die, our bodies eventually decompose and we become dust/ dirt/ash/whatever. Repentance, because long ago, when people felt remorse for something they did, they would put ashes on their head and wear “sackcloth” (scratchy clothing) to remind them that sin is pretty uncomfortable and leads to a sort of death of the spirit.  This was their way of confessing their sins and asking for forgiveness.  Where do the ashes come from? On what we now call Palm Sunday, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem while people waved palms and cheered him on. Less then a week later, Jesus was killed. The palms that were waved in joy became ashes of sorrow. We get ashes for Ash Wednesday by saving the palms from Palm Sunday, burning them, and mixing them with a little oil. It’s symbolic.

What do Christians do with ashes? At an Ash Wednesday service, folks are invited to come forward to receive the ashes. The minister will make a small cross on your forehead by smudging the ashes. While the ashes remind us of our mortality and sin, the cross reminds us of Jesus’ resurrection (life after death) and forgiveness. It’s a powerful, non-verbal way that we can experience God’s forgiveness and renewal as we return to Jesus.

So what is LENT?  At Jesus’ baptism the sky split open, the Spirit of God, which looked like a dove, descended and landed on Jesus, and a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, My Beloved, with whom I am pleased.” Afterward, as told in Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus was sent into the wilderness by the Spirit.  where he fasted and prayed for 40 days.   During his time there he was tempted by Satan and found clarity and strength to resist temptation. Afterwards, he was ready to begin his ministry.

TOP TEN THINGS YOU CAN TRY FOR THE LENTEN SEASON:

10.  Try an electronic fast. Give up TV, Guitar Hero, texting, tweeeting, e-mail and all things electronic for one day every week. (or everyday of Lent!) Use the time  to read & pray.  9.  Start a prayer rhythm. Say a prayer every time you brush your teeth, hear an ambulance, or check your e-mail. Before you text someone, pray for them.  8. Read one chapter in the Bible each day. (Matthew’s a good book to start with.  Psalms, too.)  7. Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it (maybe even yourself.)  6. Give up soft drinks, fast food, tea or coffee. Give the money you save to help folks in Haiti or others in crisis.  5. Create a daily quiet time. Spend 30 minutes a day in silence and prayer.  4. Cultivate a life of gratitude. Write someone a thank you letter each week and be aware of how many people have helped you along the way.  3.  Be kind to someone each day.  2. Pray for others you see as you walk to and from classes or drive to and from work.  1. Volunteer one hour or more each week with a local shelter, tutoring program, nursing home, prison ministry or  a Habitat for Humanity project.  About the Author: Rev. Penny Ford is the pastor of a small UMC church in Carrollton, Alabama.  She loves playing trains and going for walks with her son, Jamieson.

Choir practice:  Our choir practice continues to practice special music each Monday, at 7 pm (except cancelled on March 3). We will be sharing special music during Lent. Please come and enjoy fun fellowship and praising our Lord with song!

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