May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
Here we are, the first full week in the season of Lent and the first day of March - Happy St. David's Day to everyone who is celebrating! Spring is on its way - we will be changing our clocks in a week and a half, the official start of spring is in just under 3 weeks, and in Ontario my father is busy making maple syrup. Even though we are still likely to get some more wintery weather before the season leaves us, the trees are starting to wake up from their winter slumber, and underneath the snow, the early spring flowers are preparing to break through the surface of the soil.
The wheel of the seasons is turning in the natural world, and it is turning in the church world as well. As we move through the 40 days of Lent, I feel my soul being tugged in two different directions - I know that the end of Lent will bring the pain and grief of Good Friday, and I can feel the tension of the season escalating as Holy Week draws closer; but at the same time, I know that the other side of Lent will bring us to Easter and resurrection and new life.
For me, the rhythm of the natural world and the rhythm of the church year give structure to my life. I know within my very being that the season of snow and ice and fireplaces and hibernation will be followed by a season of long evenings and hot summer days. In the same way, I know within my being that the season of Lent with its introspection and repentance (ie turning my heart and life back to God) will be followed by the season of Easter with celebration and joy and hope. And so I watch the moon with it's cycle of filling and emptying; I watch the trees for signs of the shifting seasons; and I keep my heart open for signs of how God is moving in different ways, different times, and different places.
In terms of announcements this week, I have a couple to pass along:
Our mid-week Lent gatherings begin this evening and will continue every Wednesday evening at 7pm from now until Easter. You are invited gather in the parlour at Westfield United Church for a quiet time of music, prayer, and meditation. (Thank you, Jennifer, for catching the typo on Sunday - "meditation" not "medication"!)
Worship on Sunday will be at 9:15 at Long Reach and 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook Live. Now that all of our annual meetings are done, we can move back to our usual worship schedule! This week, we'll be reading the story of a Samaritan woman who encountered Jesus at a well (John 4:5-30, 39-42) and very quickly became a disciple, sharing his story with the people in her village.
Westfield folks - a reminder that for our after-church social, people with a last name beginning with M-P are invited to bring "eats or sweets" to share. (Session will have the coffee and tea on!)
Some of you may have seen the announcement on Facebook a couple of weeks ago - the spring musical by the Saint John Theatre Company is going to be 9 to 5 and it is going to feature three of our Two Rivers actors. Bertis Sutton (Westfield) will be playing the male lead (ie the villain), and Kelly Boyce (Bayswater-Summerville) and Peter Boyce (Bayswater-Summerville) will be in the ensemble. I asked on Facebook if there was any interest in going to cheer them on as a pastoral charge the way we did last year for Annie, and there were some definite positive responses. So... If you would like to join this congregational field trip to the theatre, I propose that we go together on Wednesday May 24 with a showtime of 7:30pm. Tickets are $55 for adults / $45.50 for seniors / $25 for students. Please let me know by Wednesday March 15 if you would like to go, and I will pick up our tickets like I did last year!
Judy and Dave Sheaves are looking for someone to take over the organization of the Strawberry Non-Social (ie cold plate dinner drive-through). This, like the Remembrance Day Turkey Dinner, is a fundraiser with lots of volunteers but they need someone to coordinate them. Dave and Judy are willing to work with you to show you the ropes! If this is something that might interest you, please contact Judy at 506-647-1849. Without an organizer, we will lose the fun fundraiser.
THANK YOU to everyone who volunteered to make tarts for our PIE Day event on March 14! I will be in touch with you in the next week with more details about dropping them off etc. (And it's not to late to volunteer - just send me a message if you would like to bake whatever tart is your specialty - butter tarts, lemon tarts, blueberry tarts...)
Our next Youth Connection gathering will be Sunday March 12 at 7pm - we will be baking tarts for PIE Day that evening!
For my closing thought this week, I had planned to share something else, but as I was driving to a meeting in Rothesay this afternoon, I heard a very profound and moving interview with Julian Munro / King Julez. Their description on the CBC website reads: "Julian Munro is many things: a United Church member, a divinity student, a non-ordained Christian minister, and a drag clown known as King Julez. Munro says transitioning is a holy act and that drag has become one of their most profound spiritual practices." They offered insight from their experience about what it is to be Christian and a queer transgender drag artist, and how all of these different identities are deeply related. You can listen to the episode online by clicking here - the interview starts around the 35-minute point in the episode, and is 19 minutes long.
Blessings to you and yours, today and always!
Rev. Kate Jones Two Rivers Pastoral Charge (506) 757-2201 (office) (506) 343-1307 (mobile) www.tworiverspastoralcharge.com Pronouns: she/her/hers "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."