Pastor Connection
March 11, 2021
A Note From Pastor Amy

I have appreciated the accompanying artwork for each Sunday's Scripture passage. Even more, I have appreciated the artist's reflection on their paintings to gain better insight into the piece as well as the Scripture. This week, we will reflect on John 3:16-21, arguably one of the best known Bible verses. Instead, of sharing my own thoughts this week, I share the thoughts of the artist, Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity. The art is called "Light Wave."

Peace be with you,
Pastor Amy

My first memory of this passage is from writing “John 3:16” on my basketball shoes when I was in seventh grade, joining many of my teammates in blending our sport with our faith. I don’t remember knowing what the verse really meant, but my display of it was to make a statement about who I was—or at least who I desperately wanted to be. Like the branded clothes I wore, or the way I styled my hair, this was just another way to curate my middle school self-image. I wanted to show that I was good, that I fit in, that I believed in God. Later that basketball season, I added another Sharpie pen tattoo to my basketball shoes: my mother’s initials and the dates of her birth and death, marking the 44 years she lived. After her funeral, my teammates added her initials and the dates of her life to their sneakers in solidarity.

Now I know that Jesus originally spoke these famous words to Nicodemus, perhaps whispering them amidst the hushed noises of the night. I wonder why Nicodemus came to Jesus in the first place? Had Jesus’ teachings uprooted his religious self-image, one carefully curated to project propriety and adherence to the law? Or had death recently left a sharp sting, unraveling his tidy beliefs, creating in him a well of desperate questions about eternal life?

Jesus speaks to him with poetry of promise: God didn’t send his son to judge the world, but so the world might be restored through him. For God so loved. For God so loves, that like light, God keeps traveling to reach us with that redeeming love. In this abstract painting, the gold leaf marks become like a wave gliding through the cosmos, moving endlessly until it reaches everything.

As I think back to those Sharpie pen inscriptions on my basketball shoes, perhaps “For God so loved… so that everyone... will have eternal life” was the perfect companion to my mom’s initials.

*A Sanctified Art LLC, sanctifiedart.org
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Don't Forget Daylight Savings Time!

Daylight Savings Time is THIS Sunday, March 14. Don't forget to set your clocks forward one hour.
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RSVP For Our Easter Worship Service
(we corrected the reserve online link)

We look forward to celebrating the resurrection of Christ together in our sanctuary! We know that Easter is typically a larger worship service for our church. This year, the number of available seats in our sanctuary is more limited.

Therefore to ensure that people have a place to sit on Easter, we are asking that people RSVP. Please let us know if you plan to attend and how many people will be sitting with you by March 25.

You may RSVP in one of three ways:
Email Pastor Amy amy@1stpresby.org
Call the office during office hours. 319-233-6145, M-Th, 9:00 - 2:00
Reserve online by clicking on the button below.

If you do not RSVP, we may not be able to ensure your seat on Easter.
We will also be providing an online worship option on Easter.

Thank you for thinking ahead and for your help in our church's planning.
Do you need help finding or getting a vaccine?

While Covid-19 vaccines are becoming more available, we recognize that some in our congregation might have limited access due to internet access or transportation options. If you are having a difficult time finding or getting a vaccine, please contact the church office. Our Deacons are ready to assist you if possible.
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Quilters Hard at Work!

The Piecemaker Quilters donated 4 quilts and 18 pillowcases to the Waterloo Warming Center this month. Thank you, Quilters, for your generosity. If you'd like more information about plans for the Peacmaker Quilters, contact Jackie Bass.
Lenten Care Drives

During the Season of Lent, our church will be collecting care items to benefit the Hospitality House and the Presbyterian Pantry located at Westminster. Starting February 21 through Palm Sunday, church members are invited to bring the following items for donation:

For Hospitality House:
heavy duty paper plates
plastic silverware
disposable razors
men's body wash
garbage bags (large kitchen size)

For the Presbyterian Pantry:
Toilet paper
Paper Towels
Feminine Products

You may bring items to the office. Boxes will also be available each Sunday for people to donate their items. Thanks for your generosity!
Lenten Devotions

Lenten Devotions are available in the church office. This year, the devotions reflect on this year's theme, Again and Again: A Lenten Refrain. Reflections on Scripture, artwork and poetry, will help you prepare for each Sunday's worship service while strengthening your own discipleship. Stop by the church to pick one up or contact the office to have one mailed to you.

Lenten, (Lunch), and Learn

Every year, we hold a Lenten, Lunch, and Learn. This year, we will not be sharing lunch in the Fellowship Hall, BUT we are still offering a special Lenten Study. The group will meet will meet in person each Wednesday at noon in Calvin Hall. 

We will be following Lent in Plain Sight by Jill J. Duffield. God is often at work through the ordinary: ordinary people, ordinary objects, ordinary grace. Through the ordinary, God communicates epiphanies, salvation, revelation, and reconciliation. It is through the mundane that we hear God’s quiet voice. In this devotional for the season of Lent, Duffield draws readers’ attention to ten ordinary objects that Jesus would have encountered on his way to Jerusalem: dust, bread, the cross, coins, shoes, oil, coats, towels, thorns, and stones. In each object, readers will find meaning in the biblical account of Jesus’ final days. Each week, readers encounter a new object to consider through Scripture, prayer, and reflection. From Ash Wednesday to Easter, Lent in Plain Sight reminds Christians to open ourselves to the kingdom of God.

It is never too late to join the group. You may purchase the book with your preferred vendor. Please let Pastor Amy know if you'd like to join the group.
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Tuesday Morning Bible Study

We will continue to meet for Tuesday morning Bible study at 9:00 a.m. each week. The group will discuss the sermon text for Sunday. During Lent we will be using artwork to help guide the conversations. We hope to see you there!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 871 2245 0563
Phone In:
1-929-205-6099
Church Prayer List
With Our Sympathy:
We are sad to inform you that Bob Cutsforth passed away this week. His family is planning a service at our church on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 11:00 a.m. Visitation is at Hagerty Waychoff Funeral Home on South St. on Friday, Feb. 16, 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Updates:
We have been praying for Kason (Connie Leeper's daughter-in-law's nephew) who suffered severe brain trauma in a car accident several months ago. We are happy to report that Kason has returned home! Thank you for your prayers.

Ongoing/Continuing Prayers:
Pat Stanhope fell and sprained her arm/shoulder; Diane Ernster is dealing with back pain/sciatic nerve problems; Karen Hahn recovering from surgery; Florence Ramsell at Northcrest, Steve Miller recovering from surgery at home, prayers of safety for Barbara Benskin's son who is a trucker; Neva Kerr, New Aldaya (Hospice); Paul Holtz, Hospice Care

Add to the Prayer List
Click HERE to submit a prayer request online. Our pastors will be praying for you and sharing concerns with the congregation as requested.
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Happy Birthday!

12 Eric Dew
13 William Barnes
15 Tom Campbell, Marge Polacek
16 Mark Bickley, Brady Swenson
18 Kim Swallow
22 Ann Sage, Heather Wheelock
23 Connor McClain, Amy Wiles
24 Cody McDowell
26 Dale Lottich
27 Cindy Trepp



First Presbyterian Church | Waterloo, IA | 319-233-6145 | www.1stpresby.org