Greetings, beloved ones!

You probably already know that February is Black History Month and American Heart Month. AND that we get to celebrate a Leap Day this year on the 29th. Cool.

But did you know February is also: Library Lovers month, National Bird-Feeding month, and National Snack Food month? In addition, we have days dedicated to the Super Bowl, groundhogs, our presidents, and of course, Saint Valentine – who leads me to center my thoughts on love and the teaching of Jesus as recorded for us in Mark 12:28-31: 

“One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that (Jesus) answered them well, he asked Him, “Which commandment is the first of all?”

Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel:  the Lord our God, the Lord is one;

you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul,

and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Hmmm. We are called to love God. And neighbor. That’s our job, if you will.

Perhaps you have seen this picture:

The street worker’s defined job was to spray-paint lines along the roadsides, and so (s)he painted around the fallen branch instead of moving it. Apparently moving the branch was not in the job description!

Now I’d like to think (and sincerely hope) this picture was photo-shopped. But even so, it serves to remind me of “my job” as a follower of Jesus: It is to love. Period. To strive to love God with my entire being, and love others as I love myself. It is simply and profoundly “not my job”  to judge or exclude. 

On February 26th, we will gather for worship at 7:00 p.m. in our Sanctuary to commemorate  Ash Wednesday, beginning the sacred season of Lent. My plan (and my need) is to receive ashes upon my forehead as a sign of my mortality and my repentance for falling short of God’s call. I look forward to it being a time of forgiveness, cleansing, and a fresh, new beginning. Will you please join me? Jesus has promised to be among us (Matthew 18:20).

In Christian love,