TAKE A MOMENT TO BREATHE IN GOD’S PRESENCE as you begin.
Joel 2 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
1 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near—
2 a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness spread upon the mountains
a great and powerful army comes;
their like has never been from of old,
nor will be again after them
in ages to come.
12 Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.
14 Who knows whether God will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the Lord, your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sanctify a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
16 gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation;
assemble the aged;
gather the children,
even infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
and the bride her canopy.
17 Between the vestibule and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.
Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord,
and do not make your heritage a mockery,
a byword among the nations.
Why should it be said among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”
REFLECTION From Sara Wilhelm Garbers
At our Ash Wednesday service this week I had the opportunity to read the above passage and invite us into Lent–40 days of reflection, repentance, and remembrance.These are a lot of “Re” words, right? And as a community, we are in this season not only of the “Re-s” of Lent, but also a time of our own “Re“: ReForming.
When I think about Ash Wednesday, I am struck by how it reminds us that death is part of our narrative and experience as human persons. We know this, and yet how much of our lives are spent trying to forget? To forget that we are frail. To forget that we are in need of love and grace. To forget that we are, indeed, people of dust.
To my mind, part of the beauty of the promise of the gospel is that it invites us to fully see things and ourselves as they are …YET it doesn’t leave us here…no, this is not the end of the story. Grace finds us. Grace helps us to see and to remember…rightly.To remember the God who was and is. To remember the love that has found and finds us over and over again.
So it is my prayer that as we ReForm (join us tomorrow for the conversation with Tim Conder and local leaders about the future of the church. Learn more here)- that we will be a people who Remember.
Remember we are dust and to dust we will return.
Remember we are loved and held by the God of life, who will always and forever breathe the hope of resurrection into our frail and contingent human existence.
And through this REmembrance, may we find the courage to open ourselves to God’s invitations to us as we ReForm, ReEnvision, ReEmpower, and ReImagine…
PRAYER. God, grant us the grace to remember, and in this way, to live boldly and with openness to all that you have for us as we ReForm together. Amen.
TAKE A MOMENT OF SILENCE as you close.