“Starting the Journey Once More

02.20.21 | Love | by Gina Anderson-Cloud
    Dear Church Family,
    As my staff and I prepared for Ash Wednesday service this past week, videotaping, and walking through service preparations, it had a feel, with the sanctuary outfitted in purple again, etc., like Lent last year. As we sat, and shared together, we exclaimed that even though it “felt like last year,” we were in a better place now. For one, we have learned a lot (about worship production, streaming, and ministry from afar), but also, I believe we collectively sense hope more clearly on the horizon, an end to this age of disconnection and that is a good feeling! We laughed together, as we mused from where we have been, from Lent to Lent.
    On Wednesday, we acknowledged that we are all broken vessels, in need of Christ, of grace to restore us. This is the journey we begin once more, a path of restoration, that leads us to hope anew. Given our journey from last Lent to this one, I pray that we realize our reliance upon that grace a bit more clearly and also that hope takes on a new, transformative meaning.
    The Apostle Paul writes of this enlightenment in heart and life to the church of Ephesus, Ephesians 1:18-19 (NRSV)
    18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 
    This prayer of the apostle Paul is also my prayer for us as we enter this Lenten journey. I pray that with our eyes and heart more open, that we may know and live according to the hope-filled love and greatness of Christ. This present moment in time calls us to faithfulness, to the way of Jesus, and I believe towards a deeper commitment to our mission of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to make disciples in his name. In God’s way of redeeming creation, this pandemic has tuned hearts toward the grace that births all of us. Many have opened eyes and hearts to a life that is more than a busy schedule or keeping up with the neighbors. Therefore, we must move in step with that tune of the Spirit’s calling. God is at work, and we are laborers in the field, that we must be equipped and ready for the harvest at hand. The looming Easter season thus is so very important to be ready for this particular year.
    With holy opportunity in mind, may this Lenten season of reflection, upon the deep, deep love of Christ, build within each of us a renewed sense of purpose and hope. May you know the power of Christ at work in and through you!
    I look forward to seeing you, as you feel safe to re-enter life at our church. Please know that we maintain a commitment to providing quality on-line and streaming ministries into the future, as we also hope to rebuild our in-person connections. May God bless you as you journey toward the wondrous Cross once more!
    Much grace and peace,
    Pastor Gina