Pastoral Ponderings (March 2019)

Welcome to windy March! Although we know there will be some cold and windy days ahead, spring is around the corner. It was a wet February and for that matter, since I have moved here, it has been a season (or seasons) of rain. As I write this first draft it is sunny and in the 50s. Enjoy the sunshine!

March is a time of anticipation on the liturgical calendar. As Advent anticipated the celebration of Christmas, Lenten Season anticipates the celebration of Easter. Before Lenten Season even begins, we have Shrove Tuesday (“Fat Tuesday”). We have a chance to clear our pantries of rich food-stuff that threatens our Lenten discipline. Of course, that is the tradition of Shrove Tuesday. Fat Tuesday is the celebration of “carnival” before the time of Lenten discipline. We will leave Fat Tuesday to New Orleans and enjoy pancakes in Galax on Tuesday (March 5).

What do you give up for Lenten Season to draw closer to God? I personally plan to give up cabbage. It will be tough! On a more serious note, think of things other than food to give up or give less time to. For example, spend less time on the phone, Facebook, computer, watching TV, and so forth, but not March Madness. Replace the food given and/or reallot time to reflect upon your relationship with God. Consider a spiritual food that require more attention: Scripture reading and reflection, prayer, fellowshipping with others, study with others, visiting someone, worship, a walk or bike ride, drive into the countryside. Whatever deepens your walk with God, take time to do it in Lenten Season. Lenten season as a time of spiritual discipline/reflection that prepares us for a joyous celebration of Easter.

Lenten Season begins Ash Wednesday (March 6 at 6:00 in the Sanctuary). We will sing portions of a few hymns, some responsive and Scripture Readings, and prayers. The main part of the service is the Ash Wednesday Cross marked on our foreheads with the ashes of Palm Leaves from Palm Sunday. The Ash Wednesday cross reminds us of our sin, need of repentance, and mortality.

By the way, I do order the ashes from a Catholic distributor, so I am sure they are the ashes of palm leaves. I have found them safe to use. I used to make my own ashes, but one year mine went “bad” and the crosses I made enflamed the forehead of almost everyone with a red cross.

Administrate wise, we have a busy March. The Finance Committee and Administrative Board meet this month, as well as a possible Trustee meeting. I also note that the Adult council will be meeting. These meetings ensure that all the “behind the scene” work gets done to ensure we have bulletins, heat, and paid staff to keep it all going at FUMC. I do appreciate your support of this congregation of Christ’s Church!

I end with a special announcement: Men’s Fellowship Meal is coming this March! Our first meeting is Tuesday, March 26, 6:30 at Porky. The Men’s Fellowship Meal is scheduled for the 4th Tuesday of every month at 6:30 at a location chosen by those who attend. I look forward to seeing the men of FUMC gather for the purpose of fellowshipping.

Pastor Mark McFadden