February 1, 2021
Hello beloved people of First Lutheran –
It is hard to believe another month has passed, and we are already moving into February. We are coming up on almost one year of living with the pandemic. On February 14, we will celebrate three years since I began my ministry at First. And on February 17, we will celebrate Ash Wednesday with the imposition of Ashes. Ash Wednesday will also begin our 40-day journey through the season of Lent, and will lead us into Maunday Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday. For this Lamplighter, it only seems appropriate to go through what to expect for Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent.
First things first, we are planning to continue worshipping online only at this time. While I know this is not ideal, we are worshipping online for the safety of our church members and community. It’s especially important right now to be extra vigilant, and not become lax. We are all exhausted from the restrictions with COVID, and we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with people starting to get vaccines. I want to remind you that while there is hope on the horizon, we still have a long way to go. We can still spread COVID if we gather. We have come this far already, and with God’s grace we can continue preserving until it is safe for all of us to gather in worship together. I know we have already expressed this at our Annual Meeting, but it is always good to have a reminder in the Lamplighter, as well. And of course, if anything changes, we will let you know as soon as possible.
Now that we’ve addressed worshipping online, let’s talk about Lent. We are going to start the Lenten season off with the burning of the Ashes on Tuesday, February 16. This will be on Facebook Live at 7 PM. All are welcome to join online. Wednesday, February 17 is Ash Wednesday. From 4:00-5:30 PM, we will host a drive through imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion. Just like with our other drive through worship services, please come up on the west side of the church, and leave on the east side of the church. To maintain physical distancing, I will be imposing ashes using a 6 in. cotton swab. While this is not our usual practice, the message we hear is the same, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” After the drive through Ashes and Holy Communion, we will then have an Ash Wednesday worship service at 7 PM on Facebook Live.
For the season of Lent, itself, the ELCA pastors and SAM’s from our conference will be doing a Lenten series using Walter Brueggermann’s devotional A Way Other Than Our Own. I encourage you to go online and order your own copy, so that you can follow along with this devotional together. Every Wednesday at 7 PM, we will have a Lenten worship service using Holden Evening Prayer. We will hear a message pertaining to Walter Brueggermann’s devotion from a different pastoral leader each week. While this is slightly different from how we traditionally do our Lenten evening services, it will be good to continue using Holden Evening Prayer and hear from different voices in our conference.
I think that’s all we need to know for this month. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. I look forward to seeing you for our drive through Imposition of Ashes, and online for worship.
Pastor Caitlin Jensen