Pastor Mary

Lenten studies: Final Words from the Cross

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul! What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, to bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

Did you know that Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent (traditionally a day of fasting), is on Valentine’s Day this year?

Ash Wednesday emphasizes two themes: our sinfulness before God and our human mortality. The service focuses on both themes, helping us realize that both have been triumphed over, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The ash cross on the forehead is an outward sign of our sorrow and repentance for sins.

On the other hand, Valentine’s Day (as the legend goes) started when St. Valentine, a priest, performed marriage ceremonies in secret for young lovers. You see, the Emperor at the time decreed that no one should marry, believing that single men made better soldiers. Today we exchange cards, candy, and flowers to show our love.

If you think about it, both are celebrating great love. St. Valentine recognized the great love between two who become one in God and God gave us great love through his son, Jesus Christ. What wondrous love we can celebrate and remember on February 14, 2018!

Jesus’ love for us was displayed on the cross; what better way to grow in that love than to study what Jesus spoke while hang- ing upon the wooden tree for us. I will be exploring that great love for us in a Lenten study called, “Final Words from the Cross.” Adam Hamilton, the author of the study, will lead us through the meaning of Jesus’ dying words for our lives today.

There are three opportunities to participate in this six-week study:

1) Tuesdays at 1 p.m. – This study group will meet at both First UMC and Calvary UMCs, on the following schedule:

Feb. 20 – First UMC

Feb. 27 – Calvary UMC

March 6 – First UMC

March 13 – Calvary UMC

March 20 – First UMC

March 27 – Calvary UMC

2) Wednesdays, Feb. 21 through March 28, at 10:30 a.m., at Vista Grand Villa.

3) Wednesdays, Feb. 21 through March 28, at 6 p.m., at First UMC (in the family room).

Other opportunities to journey toward the cross will be announced in the bulletin. So, come and journey with me.

Let us prepare our hearts and minds to observe a Holy Lent,

Pastor Mary