Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Readings for Ash Wednesday and Sunday, February 18, 2018

Hello Everyone,

Tomorrow night, Wednesday, February 14, we will begin a new worship series titled "The Road to Light".

Why do the times we live in seem so angry, contentious, foreboding, and dark? In addition to all the worries we have in living from day to day, we are inundated with news of wars, suicide bombers, earthquakes, hurricanes, rising sea levels, global warming, etc. The #MeToo movement has awakened us to the horrors of men seeking sexual favors from people, women and men, they have power over. The Black Lives Matter movement highlighted the ingrained, persistent, and real racial injustice in our country. It seems like we rarely hear good news and, if we do, it is drowned out by all the bad news.

Where is the light in our lives? The road ahead seems so dark, full of obstacles, and with treacherous turns. Journey with us during Lent (February 14 to March 31) to discover the light that Jesus shines on the road. We will also discover the road leads to the Light that drives out the darkness. However, the path Jesus takes will not be easy. Darkness lies ahead. In the end, there will be Light and Life.

In the earliest centuries of Christianity, the time of Lent was not a time of solemn religiousness or despair, but a time of learning and preparation. With that in mind, I will be using "The Road to Light" to remind us of what it means to be followers of Jesus and "a light unto all nations"

Here are the readings with minimal comments:

February 14, 2018, Ash Wednesday
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 – Turn to God who "is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing."

OR Isaiah 58:1-12 – False and True Worship. The fast that God chooses is "to loose the bonds of injustice, undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, to share your bread with the hungry, bring the homeless into your house, to clothe the naked."

Psalm 51:1-17 - The Psalmist's prayer to God for reconciliation and forgiveness.

2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
 – Be reconciled with God because God sent Jesus to bear our sins so that we might become right with God. Paul entreats his readers to humbly accept God's grace today.

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 – From the Sermon on the Mount: Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting. The skipped verses are the Lord's Prayer without the "Protestant Ending".

February 18, 2018 - First Sunday in Lent
Genesis 9:8-17 – God’s covenant with Noah to never again flood the earth and the sign of the covenant will be a rainbow.

Psalm 25:1-10 - The Psalmist implores God to teach him/her God's ways. Do not remember, he/she pleads, the sins of days past, but remember God's steadfast love.

1 Peter 3:18-22 – Christ suffered and died to bring us to God.

Mark 1:9-15 – Baptism (vs 9-11), Temptation (12-13), and the beginning of Jesus' ministry (14-15) as only Mark can do it: short and to the point.

May God Bless You on your Journey to Light.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary

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