May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
Yesterday I shared a song on my personal Facebook page that celebrates the returning of the light. On Feb. 1, the Celtic Calendar celebrates Imbolc, the half-way point between the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21) and the Spring Equinox (March 21). For the months around the two solstices, the length of day and night only change very slowly, but around the two equinoxes, the day length changes quickly. On the British Isles, Imbolc would mark the beginning of Spring, and while that isn't the case here in New Brunswick, I've definitely been noticing the sunrise moving gradually earlier and the sunset moving gradually later over the past couple of weeks.
These longer days remind us that no matter how long the night may feel, the sun is returning. Our hope isn't in vain. (And if you want to listen to the song, you can find it by clicking here - and I dare you not to be singing along by the end!)
We are now one week away from the beginning of Lent. It has been hard to plan for Lent with the uncertainty of the Covid situation here, but for now, we are moving forward with the assumption that we are going to be "orange" for a while; but we will be ready to pivot back to in-person gatherings quickly when we move to "yellow."
Ash Wednesday is next Wednesday, Feb. 17, and we will be having an Ash Wednesday service that will be livestreamed on the Two Rivers Pastoral Charge Facebook Page (the same place where you find our Sunday morning services) at 7pm that evening. Because of the logistical challenges of the ashes (I assume that you don't all have palm branches lying around your house that you could burn to make your own ashes; and I don't have the time to deliver ashes to everyone who might want to attend), this service will be a service of anointing instead. As we gather together in our online space next Wednesday, I will be inviting you to have a small amount of oil with you - olive oil works well for this, and you will only need a couple of drops. We will also be celebrating communion at this service, so I invite you to have bread or a cracker and juice/wine/water prepared so that we can eat and drink together.
And a reminder that if you haven't got your copy yet, we will also be beginning our Lenten Devotional next Wednesday - we will be reading Faith on the Move, the United Church of Canada 2021 Lenten Devotional, with an opportunity to dive into the questions that it poses each day on Facebook. You can get your copy through the United Church Bookstore (click here); and if the cost is a barrier, please let me know privately, and I will make sure that you get a copy. (Apparently the print copies are currently sold out and they are moving in to a second printing. The e-book is available, and can be downloaded onto your computer, tablet, phone, or e-reader. I purchased the e-book for myself, and loaded it into the Kindle app on my phone so that I will have it with me wherever I am.)
This Sunday is the last Sunday before Lent - Transfiguration Sunday when we read about Jesus traveling up to the top of the mountain with three of his disciples, where he is transformed and where God speaks to them (Mark 9:2-9). This year, I'm particularly intrigued by Peter's exclamation, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here." Where is here? Why is it good? What difference does that make?
And my last announcement to pass along today is to let you know that copies of our next Church in the World book (Tangles by Sarah Leavitt) are now available for you to borrow at both Westfield United and Long Reach United - I haven't made it over to Summerville the past two weeks, but have those copies in my car and I will hopefully drop them off next Tuesday morning. The date for our discussion will be decided later in the spring, once we are able to gather together more safely.
And I think that's it for today! I'll send out Sunday's bulletin on Saturday, and I'll "see" you on Sunday! (Or tomorrow, if you attend our 1pm check-in!)
Blessings to you and yours, today and always,
Rev. Kate Jones
Two Rivers Pastoral Charge
(506) 757-2201 (office)
(506) 343-1307 (mobile)
"Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law?"
Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "You must love your neighbour as you love yourself."