Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen 1-31-24

January 31, 2024

January 31, 2024

Dear Friends,
Do you know what happens on February 14th!? If you said, “Valentines’ Day!” you are partially right. February 14th is also Ash Wednesday! In the celebration of our Christian faith, this day is the beginning of a season of preparation, self-examination, and repentance that is intended to prepare us for the right celebration of Easter! On February 14th, FLPC will be observing Ash Wednesday with a drive-through Imposition of Ashes (you can stay in your car) from 4-5pm. Then, we will hold a brief, interactive Ash Wednesday service at 6:00pm in the sanctuary. If Valentines’ Day reminds us to show our love for those nearest to us, then Ash Wednesday reminds us of the cost of God’s love for us.

This season of Lent, the staff have chosen the theme: Christ, Be Our Light! We will be singing a hymn by that same name, and each Sunday the focus will be taken from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). We know that, in Christ, the Light of God’s love and presence have come to earth. How does that Light show itself, and how can we participate in that Light? Each week, we will hand out a memory verse – a short Scripture – that we hope will help us all focus on what it means to be the carriers of Christ’s light to the world all throughout the week.

I see so much light streaming from this congregation into the community around us. Thank you for the light you carry and share. I love that old hymn that says, “They will know we are Christians by our love!” May it be so among us. Every day we are challenged to choose love. We all fall short. But the Grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit will come to us when we ask and help us to grow in Christian Love! I believe this is true. So, if you come into Church and a visitor is sitting in your regular place, ask God to give you the love to welcome them (genuinely) and find another place to sit, thanking God for visitors to FLPC! If someone is rude to you in a line, show grace and respond to their anger with kindness. When you know someone who has lost much and who is grieving, instead of avoiding them because you don’t know what to say, go to them and say, “I don’t know what to say. But I want you to know that I am so sorry for your loss.” When we choose kindness, grace, patience, and faithfulness on a day-by-day basis, then the capacity for love will grow in us over time. Mother Teresa is reported to have said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” Our destiny is not fame, wealth, or power. Our God given destiny is love. And the example we must follow is Christ’s example. That is what it means to pray/sing/say “Christ, Be Our Light!”

Come and Observe Ash Wednesday with us!
See you in Worship!

Ellen Fowler Skidmore

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