Dear Congregational Family,

1. Ash Wednesday: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Repent and believe the Gospel.” Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten Season. The entire Lenten Season is so rich in meaning as the journey prepares us for Easter. Until we understand the depth of our brokenness and death (both physical and spiritual) because of sin, we can’t fully understand the wholeness and life we have in Christ because of His Good Friday death and Easter resurrection.

Ash Wednesday brings us back to the beginning—when sin came into the world as recorded in Genesis chapter three. When sin came, it brought with it the curse of death. God announced to Adam (and Eve) that they would no longer live forever, but now would die and “Return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Gen. 3:19) That would have been the last word on the subject of our life (and eternal death), but thankfully, The WORD (Jesus) would come and die for us so that we might be resurrected to eternal life! But in order for that to happen, we must honestly face our sin, our frailty, our death, and our dust. We need to “Repent and believe the Gospel.”

Jesus’ first words in ministry (Gospel of Mark 1:15) were, “Repent and believe the Gospel!” This means to be convicted of the seriousness of sin and to be turned from it, and to be convinced of the salvation of the Good News of the Gospel and be turned to it!! Both of those convictions and turnings are works of the Holy Spirit. May God be mightily at work in our soul!

Dust and ashes had long been symbols in the ancient world, and continue so today, of “repentance.” The Bible is filled with examples from the beginning books (Genesis, Job, etc.) of kings, prophets, and the people using sackcloth, dust, and ashes to demonstrate their sorrow and repentance. Job declared, “I repent in dust and ashes.” Daniel prayed to God “with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.” The people in Nehemiah’s day did the same as they called upon God for His forgiveness and blessing.

This year we are again going to be offering the “imposition of ashes” on Ash Wednesday. You may choose (or not) to receive the ashes. They will be offered as one comes into the sanctuary, near the back by the chapel, during the prelude before the beginning of the service. The ashes will be applied on the forehead in the form of the cross. Today, as our society drifts further away from Christ, the Church, and the Cross, this is a visible symbol to others that we are a “people marked by the sign of the cross.”

Even as we face our sin, our frailty, our death, and our dust this Ash Wednesday, we also know that forgiveness, salvation, wholeness, resurrection, and life has come to us in Christ. Therefore, even at the gravesite we proclaim, “Dust to dust, from the dust you were taken, to the dust you shall return; BUT one day, from the dust you shall rise again!”

2. Lenten Services & Suppers: We will be having our Lenten worship services on Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, we will also be offering Holy Communion at both services. In addition, Pastor McMinn will be offering Holy Communion to those who would like to receive it at 6:30 a.m.

We will also be having our Lenten Soup and Sandwich Suppers again each Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Thank you, Peggy! This Lenten Season we will be preaching on the Psalms from the Sunday worship service readings. Come and have your soul refreshed in these Psalms of our Savior! If you did not receive a Lenten brochure in the mail this week, please request one from the ushers.

3. Wednesday Sermon: Title: “Psalm of Repentance”
Text: Psalm 51

4. Sunday Sermon: Title: “Grace Reigns! : The man and the mess vs. The MAN and the Mission”
Text: Romans 5:12-21

God bless you as we continue,
“Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God.”

Pastor Carlson