A family was heading on vacation: two little ones were nestled in car seats; the van was packed. As Dad locked the house and Mom secured the garage, an adult neighbor the kids knew walked up and spoke through an open window. “Where are you going?” The kids shrugged. “Well, what road are you taking?” the friend asked with a knowing smile. Of course, they had no idea. “Do you know where you’ll eat today, or where you’ll spend the night?” Blank stares. Then the friend asked, “Who are you traveling with?” The children broke into grins and shouted, “Mommy and Daddy!”
On the journey of faith, we don’t know precisely where we’re headed or how all our needs will be met. But we know who we’re traveling with: our loving God who is fully aware of the twists and turns ahead; the loving Parent who promises to care for us wherever we go.
To God you shall return
The traditional Ash Wednesday words “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” might seem depressing. But in our often death-denying culture, some might find it refreshing to hear the frank statement that we can do nothing to save ourselves, physically or spiritually — that, no matter how we try to avoid sin, we can’t untangle ourselves from self-interest. How liberating, then, to know we don’t have to! God loves us as we are and sent Jesus to break sin’s power over us.
A pastor described Ash Wednesday as the point you can pinch in the middle of a long piece of ribbon, such that when you lift it high, the two ends — one symbolizing our baptism and the other, our funeral — meet and touch. We come from dust and will return to dust, but we also come from God and will return to God. Ash Wednesday reminds us that we’re always safe in God’s love.
On the “Three Sides” podcast (ELCA, Sept. 6, 2018), Wendy Davidson, a leader at the Kellogg Company, shares how her Christianity informs her work. Because her adult faith emerged from several denominational influences, she considers variety to be a strength, not only spiritually but throughout life.
Davidson encourages her co-workers to bring their unique personalities and ideas to the table to create a metaphorical salad. “It doesn’t mean that the salad now becomes one homogenous blob; it is still distinctly the flavors of the salad ingredients,” she says. “But they’ve all found a way to come together to make something that much more flavorful than they could have been all on their own.”
Viewing church and our communities this way could be transformative. What if we welcome different people, invite ideas and resist melding everything into one giant blob? Then we can savor each “ingredient” and the resulting gourmet dish. Delicious!
The comfort of our middle-C God
During college, while living in a boarding house, author Lloyd Douglas befriended a retiree. The man, a homebound former music teacher, shared a morning ritual with Douglas, who would walk down to the man’s floor, open his door and ask, “What’s the good news?”
Every day the man responded by tapping a tuning fork against his wheelchair and saying, “That’s middle C. It was middle C yesterday. It will be middle C tomorrow. It will be middle C a thousand years from now. The tenor upstairs sings flat, the piano across the hall is out of tune, but, my friend, that is middle C!”
If middle C’s pitch value isn’t exactly 261.63 Hz, then your piano needs to be tuned. How comforting that dependability is for musicians — and their listeners.
Like middle C, God is steadfast and reliable. In this fast-paced world, praise God for the good news he declares to us: “I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6).
Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities. Whereas Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus after his death on the cross, Lent recalls the events leading up to and including Jesus' crucifixion by Rome. This is believed to have taken place in Roman occupied Jerusalem. The Christian churches that observe Lent in the 21st century (and not all do significantly) use it as a time for prayer and penance. Only a small number of people today fast for the whole of Lent, although some maintain the practice on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. It is more common these days for believers to surrender a particular vice such as favorite foods or smoking. Whatever the sacrifice it is a reflection of Jesus' deprivation in the wilderness and a test of self-discipline.
Why 40 days? 40 is a significant number in Jewish-Christian scripture: In Genesis, the flood which destroyed the earth was brought about by 40 days and nights of rain. The Hebrews spent 40 years in the wilderness before reaching the land promised to them by God. Moses fasted for 40 days before receiving the ten commandments on Mount Sinai. Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness in preparation for his ministry. Most Christians regard Jesus' time in the wilderness as the key event for the duration of Lent.
Mount Vernon First Christian Church
Disciples of Christ
As members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), we believe our only creed is Christ. We shouldn't burden our lives with confusing rules of fellowship. There is no test of membership beyond faith in God's love and the Christ we have in Jesus, who leads us to reconcilliation with God and each other. Our emphasis is placed on living in ways that confirm our beliefs and understanding. At our best, we carry out a ministry that makes a difference in the world and reflects the good news of God's grace extended to all people.
Look What’s Happening:
Sunday, March 10, General Board Meeting.
Sunday, March 17, NO Elder’s Meeting. Tuesday, March 19, Men’s Breakfast at 7:30 am. Wednesday, March 27, Gal’s Night Out at 6:00 pm. Friday, March 29, Friendship House Meal.
• World Day of Prayer, March 1, 2019
• Transfiguration of Our Lord, March 3, 2019
• Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019
• First Sunday in Lent, March 10, 2019
• Daylight-Saving Time begins, March 10, 2019
• Second Sunday in Lent, March 17, 2019
• First day of spring, March 20, 2019
• Third Sunday in Lent, March 24, 2019
• Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 31, 2019
Gal's Night Out at the Adrift in Anacortes
Winter Wonderland 2019
MVFCC Volunteer Opportunities:
1. The Friendship House needs you the last Friday of every month. Sign up at church this Sunday.
2. Neighbors in Need Food Bank is looking for donations of canned and dry foods. Place in the bins provided this Sunday.
3. Our Common Table requests financial and supply donations for growing and supporting their congregation.
Visit us at:
900 Skagit Street
Mount Vernon, WA 98274
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Schedule of Weekly Events
Sunday Class - 9:30 am
Sunday Worship Service - 10:30 am
Sunday Fellowship Time - 11:30 am
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Jesus calls us to service. In answering his call, we support a number of community service organizations and projects. Among these are the Friendship House, Skagit County Community Action Agency, Domestic Violence Women's Shelter, Everett's Common Ground and Common Table, Family Promise, Neighbor's in Need, Samaritan's Purse Shoe-box Project, and Lincoln Elementary School.