Pulse – February 2018
Here we are in the dreary, damp, cold, and beautiful month of February. We anticipate the coming of the Lenten season and long for days of more sunlight and the promise of Spring. Winter draws us inward, calling us to come and sit by the fire and stay warm in hopes that the chill will soon break. I hope that you have gathered closer with the ones you love in this season, closer to God’s presence in your own self and in the life of the community of St. James.
While the days are short and the winds are cold, this season in our church is anything but quiet. We have bustled through the month of January, calling new officers into service, setting plans for how we will steward God’s resources for the year ahead, and diving fully into construction and the practice of “remaking” as we demolish and rebuild our upstairs bathrooms. Do we engage in all of this so that we can manage the dreary winter rain? Do we gather more frequently and with greater intention in this season in some hopes that it will ward off the heaviness of the season, hoping to see Christ in each other and be encouraged? I hope so.
The season of Lent is upon us. February 14 we mark the beginning of this season through the practice of Ash Wednesday. We remember that while the world spins on busily around us that it is all fleeting, we are all impermanent. We come from dust and to dust we shall return. This year, I hear this invitation to remember our dusty nature with hope — God created humankind out of the dust of the earth, the good, rich soil of the garden, nurtured by the pounding rain, enriched by the decay of winter. We come from dust — good, earthy, life-sustaining dust. In this season of Lent, we turn our focus to Christ’s journey toward the cross, the place where we are astonished to discover that while the body is from dust, death no longer has the final word. For Christ, and for all devoted and belonging to Christ, dust is transformed into a spring of living water. From dust, we are remade, from impermanent to eternal.
Finally, while we engage in all the devotional practices that bring us individually into focus around the journey to the cross, so we will also journey as a community into deeper connection and belonging. This February and March, I will be hosting a couple of gatherings after church called Communitas Presbyteros, times to gather and learn about what it means to belong and participate in life here at St. James. Communitas is a Latin word for “belonging” or “community”. Presbyteros is the word we draw our denominational name from, signifying a community led by elders and structured in such a way to discern God’s will as a people. If you’ve ever thought of joining St. James, becoming a member, or deepening your sense of connection and commitment, I invite you to join us.
In all things, may you be encouraged and strengthened in the grace and mercy of God in this season. You are beloved, welcomed, and called to be disciples of the Christ in this city, in your neighborhood, in this church.
Grace and peace,