This time next week I will be preparing for Ash Wednesday Worship at 7pm at Wesley Chapel.  Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, 40 days excluding Sundays before Easter, when we are to reflect on our walk with the Lord and use the time to focus more than usual on repentance and prayer.  Many times this involves giving up something we do, eat etc. that may be detracting from our relationship with God.  Sometimes we take on a new focus on prayer, scripture reading and study etc.   I think Lent is especially important to remind us that although God meets us in the person of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit where we are and as we are that relationship is based on our willingness to seek forgiveness and accept the Salvation of Jesus Christ by turning away from our sins and living our lives in Christian service as we grow in Sanctifying Grace.  For Wesley, salvation was not one moment or one experience, but a life-long process of becoming more and more like Christ. Lent is a period in the church to remind us that although God loves us we are responsible for seeking forgiveness of our sins and living out our faith.  I hope you are planning on joining us for worship next Wednesday as we celebrate the season of Lent.

Prior to Ash Wednesday we join together for Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras.  Shrove is a derivation of the English word Shrive which refers to absolution of sins through confession.  Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras refer to the tradition of eating rich foods before the period of fasting from many of those foods during Lent.  Our parish will join with Harwood Park UMC to eat pancakes and celebrate Mardi Gras at Harwood Park between 5 & 7pm.

During Lent our Sermon Series will be “Who do YOU say I am?”  Each week will look at an “I Am” statement in scripture and discuss how it relates to each of our lives.  However due to the snow we will complete our “Get Fit” series first.  This Sunday we will be talking about Christian Relationships and how to improve our Relationship Fitness.  This is part one of two parts because the next Sunday is Valentine’s day and we will have “Relationships Part 2 – Let’s Get Intimate”.  That’s right we will spend the morning talking about what the Bible has to say about our most intimate relationships.

Congratulations to our own Brandon Dix who went swimming in the Chesapeake Bay last Saturday and raised over $700 for the Special Olympics.  Special congratulations to his dad and grand dad who challenged him to go back and actually put his head under and he did!  Brandon is a sophomore at Long Reach High School.

Since we are celebrating our youth I want to challenge all of our youth and their families to commit in the next week to join me in Ocean City March 18-20 for the Metro-Maryland Youth For Christ IMPACT Retreat.  The sooner I have commitments the more money we can save on registration and the sooner we know how many groceries and chaperons we need.  You can check out the event here.  You can also find past conferences on YouTube.  This event attracts over 3000 young folks and adults from all over Maryland.

In His service!

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