Praise the Lord, all you nations! Extol him, all you peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!
Late last fall I proposed to the Congregational Council that we could suspend all committee meetings (with the exception of Council and Nursery School Board meetings) during Lent. This does not mean that each committee would suspend their work, because no matter what, God’s work through our hands must surely continue. Why then would I suggest a suspension of committee meetings?
Over the past couple of years, I have learned that Committee meetings drive much of the scheduling at St. Mark’s … including my time. I would much rather that we, as a community of faith, focus upon becoming more diligent in our planning and carrying out the work of the church, in other words – capitalizing upon efficiency. This does indeed require trust … trust that each of us will follow through with what we have agreed upon. I am willing to place that trust in us.
A second reason for my proposal, as I mentioned above, is that my time, especially on Monday and Tuesday evenings is spent in committee work. I have discovered that in the past, I missed a more personal Lenten journey. Certainly, as I lead worship, and pray with folks, I get to participate in our Lenten journey as a church, but I really feel like I might be missing a vital part of my own journey towards Jerusalem and the cross.
Now – this may seem at first glance, like I’m asking for time off – no way! My proposal is this: rather than attending committee meetings during Lent, I am committing myself to being available from 6 to 7:30 pm on Monday evenings. If you would like to come in and talk, pray, ask questions about religion, the Bible, church activities, or even to take a walk and talk, I will be available. There is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex for you to indicate your desire to meet with me. I have set the schedule up in 30-minute increments – that however, is not cast in stone. In addition – if several people would like to meet at the same time, I am happy to do that as well. To me, this is a way that I can set my sights to the cross and the incredible sacrifice of love that was lavished upon us through Jesus – even as I walk with you in your personal journey of faith.
We will be continuing our tradition of participating in the SMI Tuesday evening Lenten Soup dinner and Eucharist worship services. This year the churches involved are St. Mark, Oaklyn, Holy Trinity, Magnolia, and St. Paul, Collingswood. The schedule will be coming out very soon!
On Ash Wednesday, February 14th we start our Lenten journey, walking toward Jerusalem, the cross, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the ultimate victory over sin and death. I invite you to come to church on Wednesday evenings starting February 21st, for a delicious meal at 6 PM, followed by 30 minutes of Lenten Vespers, which start at 7pm.
Please consider including the Tuesday and Wednesday worship offerings, along with Sunday worship, to your schedule this Lenten season. I pray that your Lenten pilgrimage to the cross and the empty tomb is deeply meaningful with each and every step.
In Christ’s name,