February 2015
A Word From the Pastor
The Season of Lent officially begins on Wednesday, February 18.
As you may know, Lent is a season of 40 days (not counting Sundays) leading up to the celebration of Easter and the Resurrection of
Jesus. It is a time of preparation, self-reflection and personal /
community assessment of our need for the gift of God of raising
Jesus from the Dead.
The Greatest of These
Without the Easter Resurrection, Jesus’ death would have been the
end. He would have been just another Jewish leader put to death
for proclaiming the Reign of God over the forces of domination, oppression, evil and death at work to destroy the Creation God had
labored to bring into existence.
So it is God’s creative power for Resurrection that transforms Jesus’
death on the cross into a sign of victory, God’s victory over the
powers of human sinfulness and evil. Resurrection becomes the
“Undoing of the powers of Death.” It is God who gets the Last Word.
The Last Word is LIFE!!!
One of the ways I describe the work of sinfulness is this: Remember seeing the mirrors that distort your appearance. They make you
look tall and skinny or compress you into a human chunk, stretch
your face all out of focus?
That is what our human sinfulness does to the image of God in us.
The work of Sin distorts our motives, our decisions, our choices, our
desires, our relationships. Sin is a way of describing how our lives
are broken, our of healing and repair. Sin is a wound that goes
deep into our souls and distorts the goodness of God in us.
So the Season of Lent is a time that we prepare ourselves to receive the work of healing in our lives and relationships.
Ash Wednesday begins this Way toward healing our brokenness.
So on February 18th we at Arcadia will have a service of worship
that will invite us to ready ourselves for the healing grace of Resurrection for us, in us and through us.
As part of your preparation for Easter I would like for you to ponder
some words of scripture and ask “What is God’s word for me in this
passage?” Here are the scriptures: Psalm 51, Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, 2 Corinthians 6:1-10.
May God in Christ use this Season to transform our hearts and lives
so that we may grow in loving as God loves us.
I want to think everyone has some type of keepsake they
hold close to their heart, but I know that isn’t true. Some people are
not sentimental and some, like me, are overly so. I know there
should be a happy medium, but I haven’t been able to find that part
of my heart. I have a cigar box full of pens and pencils that
belonged to my Dad and I have a coffee cup with no handle and
stained beyond repair that belonged to my Mom. I have a ball of
yarn with the crochet needle stuck in the middle and I keep it that
way even though I know the project will never be completed. I
have many keepsakes because they comfort me. These things
mean nothing to anyone but me, but to me they are my memories
and to me they are love.
I’m not sure there is a greater emotion than the ability to
know and to feel love. Love is like faith in that you can’t explain it,
but we all know what it is. Love comes in various degrees and
sometimes in the strangest ways. For example, I love a pretty yard,
but that isn’t the same kind of love that I had for my parents or that I
have for friends or even the same kind of love that I have for my
pets. Hopefully, we have all known love and have shared our love
with others.
Love is mentioned in scripture many times. John 3:16 is
one bible verse we all know that mentions love. It mentions a love
that might be hard to understand for some people. God sent us His
son because He loved us. He didn’t just have a son that we could
read about or see in pictures; He gave His son to us. He allowed
His son to die on a cross to cover our sins because He loved us
that much.
His love is something I often take for granted because it is
a story I’ve heard all of my life. It’s a love I’ve known and a love I’ve
accepted and yet it is a love I don’t totally understand. His death on
that cross covers my sins and, at the same time, His death covers
your sins too. And His death has covered sins from the day He
died and will continue until the day He returns to claim His own.
There is no greater love than this. Even after everything we know is
gone and our journey has come to an end, His love will endure and
it is His love will take us home.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
My thoughts, my words submitted to you with love and with
the help of God, who inspires me to do this.
Bro. Ben
Lectionary Readings for February
February 1
Deuteronomy 18:15-20
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Psalm 111
Mark 1:21-28
February 8
Isaiah 40:21-31
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
Mark 1:29-39
February 15
2 Kings 2:1-12
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Psalm 50:1-6
Mark 9:2-9
February 22
Genesis 9:8-17
1 Peter 3:18
Psalm 25:1-10
Mark 1:9-15
Throughout the year, Arcadia UMW collects the following: pull tabs
for Ronald McDonald House, used stamps (trimmed to 1/4 inch
around) for Marion Mission Storehouse, Campbell labels from
soups, chucky soup, spaghettios, Prego Sauce. (Full list available
on the ushers table.) Please drop ALL donations in the large
Campbell Soup bin in the back of the sanctuary.
Sandra Mayhugh
2 - 4 P.M.