Ash Wednesday 2015

February 17th, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

Tomorrow we enter into the 40 day journey to Easter which is known as Lent. This is the time of year to nurture our spiritual life. Not only do we prepare ourselves to celebrate the mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus, but also the death and resurrection that continually takes place within us.

From the Middle Ages it became the custom to begin Lent by being marked in ash with the sign of the cross. As we are reminded of our mortality, sin and brokenness, we are drawn to turn again to God who alone is the source of healing and new life.

I invite you to make time for worship with your community of faith (Wednesdays 7:30pm and Sundays 10am), along with engaging in the other spiritual disciplines of Lent–fasting, prayer and works of love–returning to God who creates a new spirit within us.

See you in church,

Pastor Gretchen

February 2015 Newsletter

February 1st, 2015

Dear disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

If I ever lose my phone I’d be lost myself! I don’t just use it to make calls, but also to text, to check my e-mails and facebook, and most importantly where to be when since it’s my only calendar. Yet as important as my phone is to me, it’s also a distraction. I have a habit of checking it more often than I’d like. As much as it keeps me connected to the world around me, it also has the potential to disconnect me from my deepest self.

This is one of the reasons I look forward to the season of Lent each year. Lent is a time to renew my spirit and keep me grounded in what’s truly important to me—my relationship to God and others. Author Joyce Rupp put it this way: “The church is wise in offering us the season of Lent because it can be the very time we need to find what is missing in our lives; it can be the season to deliberately seek what has been tossed away or misplaced or ignored, so that our lives can once again reflect the gospel which Jesus encouraged us to live” (Fresh Bread and other gifts of Spiritual Nourishment).

As we begin the six-week journey of Lent together this month, I invite you to engage in the following spiritual practices personally and with your community of faith:

  • Regular worship on Sunday mornings at 10am and Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm
  • Adult learning on Sunday mornings after worship and Wednesday evenings over soup from 6-7:20pm using the resource “Claimed, Gathered and Sent” to kick off a year of conversation on the mission and purpose of our church.
  • Service through donations for Lutheran World Relief’s “Baskets of Promise” personal care kits.
  • Prayer and Meditation using the booklets with daily Scripture readings, reflections and prayers available for your devotions at home.
  • Fasting from unhealthy food and drink in order to be good stewards of our bodies, as well as engaging in the ancient spiritual discipline of giving up something to reflect on Jesus’ giving up his life for us.

I pray that this season of Lent may be a rich time of spiritual renewal for us all. May these practices not be something rigid, or good works to earn God’s love. Rather may they open our hearts to better receive the abundant grace we are given through Christ’s death and resurrection!

Lenten blessings,

Pastor Gretchen

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