For Everything a Season
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
I’m thinking about last year, and how it was during the season of Lent – a time when we normally reflect on our mortality and our need for repentance and prayer, which can sometime seem like an annual examination of our spiritual lives. Many of us were feeling the effects of the beginning of quarantine and learning new terms like social distancing and contact tracing. Some were wondering how long this wilderness experience would last. We’re still in it nearly one year later, and making plans, hoping for tomorrow, and having expectations seems much more difficult. We’ve learned some things, suffered, and have been through many changes. There may be more to come. Maybe it’s been hard to have faith, or perhaps faith has grown stronger. We have said goodbye to friends and beloved family members, and welcomed newcomers along the journey, too. We’ve been stuck, isolated, anxious, angry, fearful, and exhausted. What can this new season bring?
Ash Wednesday will include a drive-through imposition of ashes in the parking lot beginning at noon and worship will be online at 6pm on Feb. 17th. This year, during our midweek worship, I’ll be inviting you into a practice of the Daily Examen. This spiritual practice comes from the tradition of Saint Ignatius, and centers around an awareness of God’s presence, gratitude, our feelings and emotions, prayers, and anticipation of the next day. This will give us a framework to see how the events of the last year have affected us and our world, as we hear the promise that God is still near. Worship will happen each Wednesday, beginning Feb. 24th online (at least for now) at 6pm.
This has been in many ways a season of new relationships. We were glad to welcome new members on January 24th, and have officially introduced Nicole Baker, Jalayne and Chris Zayas and family, Donna Delancy Speirer, Rebekah Johnson, and Jacque & Scott Welch, along with Taylor Welch! They all look forward to gathering for worship in person when that becomes available. We will hold another new member class soon, as I have had more requests! We continue to serve 5-6 Spanish speaking families in need of food assistance, on a monthly basis. If anyone is interested in helping to shop or deliver groceries, I’d be grateful. I continue to pray for these families and hope you will too.
This is also a season of learning, and our Sunday school continues to consist of emailed faith formation activities for families to use at home. I am beginning to look at plans for Vacation Bible school and a new confirmation class for 2021. There may also be interest in Adult Confirmation at some point. Our Sunday Bible Study has been insightful and exciting. We just finished learning about the letter to the Colossians, and will begin our study on King David on February 21st. Thanks to Pastor Matt for his leadership and for a great title, “A God of Thrones: David, Christ, and Us.” Our past Bible studies are available on Facebook and can be enjoyed on our iTunes podcast channel as well. We will begin a book study on Monday evenings, and will read The World is About to Turn: Mending a Nation’s Faith by authors Rick Rouse and Paul Ingram. Some will remember Pastor Rick Rouse who visited Reformation a few years back, and his son Pr. Ryan Rouse, who was briefly interim pastor (2012?) at RLC. Books are available for $10 in the church office.
What a season of music it has been in worship! Dr. Alexandria Le has truly blessed us with her musical talents. We are in conversation about joint worship with other local churches, concerts with more guest musicians, and some seasonal offerings. While our contemporary worship has been on hiatus, I do hope to bring it back once we are able to open the doors and can fit that into our schedule.
As always, our stellar staff is making things happen. I am grateful to Danny and Mary for their support and graceful execution of their duties in this difficult time. Marissa is creatively shepherding our youth, mentoring a new leader, and keeping us connected with synod and national ministries. Pastor Matt is a trusted partner and faithful friend. I give thanks to God for them all, and for you as you work to make good decisions for our mission and ministry. When I think about where we’ve been and where we’re going, I am grateful, excited, and inspired to embrace this church in all the seasons of life, trusting that it is always and ever for the glory of God.
Pastor Jason Adams