And just in case you haven’t heard these lines from Mark 1 we get yet another chance this week!
Jesus is baptized and immediately he went into the desert. Before he began his ministry among the people he first went off by himself into the wilderness.
The desert is not usually a place of renewal and yet even in the wilderness, there is renewal. Our wilderness, Lent, can be the time and place to depend less on our own cleverness and to lean more heavily on God. In the desert, we might listen to the voice of God rather than the voices of our own appetites and longings. To hear God’s desires over our own.
We pray on Ash Wednesday the Litany of Penitence We pray this Sunday the Great Litany. Both are wilderness prayers encouraging us to do a bit of self-reflection, a bit of self-examination to begin again.  
A reminder …  Ashes are available at the church office. You can use ashes from your fireplace, dirt from your garden or a potted plant, candle smudge from a burnt wick. The mark on our heads reminds us that we God’s beloved and we are called as beloved of God to turn and go a new way, to repent our thoughts and deeds.
This isn’t just self-improvement, this is reconnection and a recommitment. We remember whose we are and what is our call as people of God. The cycle of life goes on, the cycle of seasons goes on as we make time again to hear God's voice. 
A reminder -- it’s not that God wants/needs better people, God loves the people God creates; all of them, all of us. God’s hope is that we too can love God's people.  So we might see the kingdom and participate in the kingdom, we might be the kingdom. That is the good news.
We must accept our belovedness, acknowledge hearing God call us beloved, and respond. Not discounting ourselves and others, but rise to the challenge and step toward the opportunities to love others. Again more good news.
Lent begins this week – so we are encouraged to choose a challenge.
Remember, 40acts started with a simple idea to commit to 40 days of giving out, not giving up – to put others before ourselves and to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and follow the call to love our neighbors.
You are up for it!
Almighty God, You showed us through the life of your Son Jesus Christ, that You are willing to do something different for the sake of generosity. Please give us hearts of compassion like yours and help us to be alert to those in need of Your transforming love. Help us to be ready to be changed ourselves as we reach out to others. Show us ways to restore our relationships, our community, and our world.  We ask this, in the precious name of Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Shrove Tuesday Worship @ 7 pm
February 16, 2021
Add Ash Wednesday link 7 pm

Ash Wednesday Worship @ 7 pm
February 17th is Ash Wednesday. On that day we receive the mark of an ash cross and move into Lent. An ecumenical worship service will be broadcast on our YouTube channel or our Facebook page at 7:00 pm.

Rev. Alison

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