Church of the Holy Spirit's monthly e-newsletter, the Godsend.
February 2021 Godsend
Epiphany Into Lent
Holy Eucharist: Sundays 10:00 AM
Healing Service: First Saturday of the Month at 5:00 PM

Please mark events (at the end of the newsletter) on your personal calendars. 
Please send articles and feedback to our editors, Robbie Pruitt and Dean Schultz at robbie@holyspiritleesburg.org and dean@holyspiritleesburg.org

FROM ASH WEDNESDAY to THE EVE OF PALM SUNDAY
PENITENTIAL OCCASIONS

Celebrant   Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins.
     People   His mercy endures for ever.
Table of Contents

1. Snow, Teeth, and Soil, by Pastor Clancy Nixon
2. Are You Feeling Groovy?, by Pastor Dean Schultz
3. God’s Love and Being Single on Valentine’s Day, by Monica Whitmer
4. Valentine's Day and Children's Ministry, by Debbie Jones
5. The Faith Of The Next Generation, by Pastor Robbie Pruitt
6. Center For Parent And Youth Understanding, Parent Page
7. Church Community Builder: Is Your Information Up-To-Date?
8. Let's Get Social, by Robbie Pruitt
9. Schedule of Upcoming Events
10. Social Media Links: Join us on your favorite social media outlet
Photo courtesy of Jorge Ocasio. (C) February 2021
Snow, Teeth, and Soil
by Pastor Clancy Nixon
Snow fell yesterday! The first snow that stuck in 2 years.  Snow makes everything quiet and lovely.  Kids play in it; adults shovel.  It’s like a clean new blanket, covering the earth.  Spring feels distant.  No dirt is visible – not till it melts!  A covering of snow is like God’s forgiveness of our sins – God covers our sins with His forgiveness.  Like a covering for nakedness, He takes away our shame. We need this forgiveness on a deep level – underground, if you will. 

To become thoroughly cleansed, we need more than a covering; we need an inner cleanse; the renewing of our minds. Recall our CHS scripture verse for 2021: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  (Romans 12:2)  It’s not only the coronavirus that besets us; worldly patterns have infected too much, and too many, of our lives.  

I invite you to a holy Lent. 

More than any other season of the church calendar, Lent belongs to the Church. No one writes Lenten cards; there are no Lenten shopping deals. We don’t wish everyone a happy Lent; we wish believers a holy Lent. We don’t celebrate Lent; we observe it. Around the time of the Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.), the church adopted a collective discipline modeled on the forty day fasts of Moses, Elijah and Jesus, which we call Lent (our English word “Lent” means lengthening of daylight in spring).  

I invite you to set aside this 40-day season before Easter (Sundays are not counted – every Sunday is a feast day!) for mind renewal. The Church calls us to a holy Lent in this way: “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and alms-giving; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (Book of Common Prayer 2019, p. 544) It’s not about being miserable or conspicuously pious. It’s about reconnecting with God through these essential spiritual disciplines. 

Like our dentist examines our teeth twice a year for problems, God calls you to examine your own soul - (see 2 Cor. 13:5). What are you thinking about most these days? Are you caught up in the anger or anxiety that is so prevalent in pandemic culture? What images are fascinating you these days?  Take a moral and spiritual inventory of your soul early in Lent. If you are doing this regularly - daily or weekly - it is not painful to do. For some of us, though, self-examination may be quite painful - like when we haven’t been flossing for a while, and we start again. Better yearly than never!  

Then, of course, once we admit our faults, we are to repent. To change our minds.  To turn around. God will help you! If you know what you need to do and still aren’t doing it, I encourage you to seek out accountability with another believer, who will encourage you in godliness. We can match you with a mentor or accountability partner – email me. 

These practices will humble you. The word “humility” comes from the same root word as “dirt.” On Ash Wednesday, we recite this over you personally as you receive the imposition of ashes: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Our mortal bodies will all turn to dust. We are all sinners in need of redemption. Humus, as every gardener knows, is good dirt – it helps to grow fruitful plants.  

Self-examination and repentance are essential ways we renew our minds.  They are essential to our spiritual health. Examine your soil this Lent. Dig under the snow of your shallow repentances, and turn your soil over, bringing new life into your fruit-bearing.  

Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple (1881-1944) composed a prayer for the people of God as we embark on this holy season: “O God, our judge and Savior, set before us the vision of thy purity, and let us see our sins in the light of thy holiness. Pierce our self-contentment with the shafts of thy burning love, and let that love consume in us all that hinders us from perfect service of thy cause; for as thy holiness is our judgment, so are thy wounds our salvation. Amen.”
Are You Feeling Groovy?
By Pastor Dean Schultz
As I was reflecting on the upcoming holy season of Lent, one of Simon and Garfunkel's best-known songs began to play in my mind: 

Slow down; you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobblestones.
Looking for fun and feeling groovy
Ba da-da da-da da-da, feeling groovy.

I got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life, I love you, all is groovy.

If you are under 40 years of age, let me attempt to define the slang word "groovy" that your parents and grandparents heard growing up. For many groovy was a "feeling." For others, it described someone or some experience as being cool, fashionable, hip, or amazing (a word we hear a lot today). The word groovy can also mean showing awareness of or involvement in the newest styles, conforming to cultural customs or embracing the latest new trend.

As we observe the societal disintegration happening all around us, it's obvious that many of the people we encounter in our everyday lives are not "feeling groovy" but battling feelings of despair and a fear of the future. Amid this cultural chaos, every Christian must remember that Jesus commands us to "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all we've been commanded knowing that Jesus is with us always even to the end of the age; or to tweak the lyrics of Simon and Garfunkel a bit; we have "deeds to do" (Matthew 5:16) and " promises to keep" (2 Corinthians 1:20); this is not the time for Christians to be "drowsy and ready to sleep" (Matthew 25:5-6)
 
Now, lest you think I am trying to trash Simon and Garfunkel's song, I love the lyric "Slow down you move too fast." Lent is a time when we slow down from living in what for some of us has become the fast lane to search our hearts, confess and repent from sin, fast, pray, study God's Word, and invite our Good Shepherd to provide us with spiritual direction for the next steps in our lives.  
 
In the coming days, you will be hearing more about how we individually, and as a church family, can observe Lent, a sacred liturgical season that God blesses us with to help us slow down cause we're moving too fast! +
God’s Love and Being Single on Valentine’s Day
By Monica Whitmer 
Having been single for many years now I know what it is like to spend Valentine’s Day by yourself. Watching others get presents and talking about what they are doing. I have served at Valentine’s dinners and dances through the years, watching the couples look adoringly at each other. One of my favorite pictures is from one of these dances, of Pastor Clancy dancing with Ginger, a look of absolute love on his face.

Many times, you will hear people say (in the Christian community) that Jesus is their date. Most of the time people are saying that to cover the pain of being alone and still seeking. Sometimes people just bounce from relationship to relationship just so they can be with someone.

Something personal I have learned in the past 7 years of being single is that I was trying to fill a hole in my life with relationships. There always seemed to be something missing. I always felt I needed someone to adore me and love on me. It never seemed to be enough tho. The hole would always reappear, even within the relationship. Then I would turn to shopping and purchasing physical things trying to fill the hole. I became a hoarder. I had so many things in my home because that momentary purchase would give me a moment of “happiness” that hit of dopamine. 

When the Lord took it all away, the relationships, the personal items, I was left with no physical things. That is when I found the true love of God. That He cared for me (and He cares for you) beyond the relationships with others, the physical object, the things you have done in your life. God loves YOU beyond what you think you are, He finds YOU worthy, He finds YOU wonderful, He loves YOU beyond anything you can begin to imagine.

The thing that the Lord wants most from all of us is a relationship. He loved you before you were born. He knows you better than you know yourself. He wants to be with you.

I challenge you, if you are single this Valentines Day, look to the Lord. I know the holiday can be hard for so many, but the Lord truly wants to be with you and wants a relationship with you. A way to do this, if you start really thinking about being alone. If you start cycling on your relationship status, remember you are not alone. You actually never have been alone; He has been with you since the beginning and always will be.

Take a moment and a few breaths. Remember you are loved in a way you can never fully comprehend. In a way that will never change or leave no matter what. Try to connect in with the Lord. Try to hear His still small voice and if that does not work, go to the Bible and read the Words He wrote, that are alive. He sacrificed His Son for you, so that His Holy Spirit could dwell with you. That is a love that is for YOU, that is a love beyond comprehension.

Blessings,
Monica
Valentine's Day and Children's Ministry
by Debbie Jones
February is here and we want to share God’s love through a Valentine’s Day “Jesus Loves Me” tote. It will contain a craft, worksheets and treats focusing on God’s love. Most importantly, Bible verses about God’s wonderful love for each one of us will also be included. The totes will be available on Sunday, February 14th!  Let’s spread God’s love throughout Loudoun County! +
The Faith Of The Next Generation
By Robbie Pruitt

Are we teaching the next generation to know and to follow Jesus? Will the next generation share our faith in Jesus?

There is an old saying, “The apple does not fall far from the tree.” Another saying goes like this, “Like father, like son.”

It is usually true that children are often a reflection of their parents and their family. Our children take on our values and our beliefs.

One Proverb says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6, ESV).

We are to teach and to model our faith in Jesus for the next generation.

The next generation will only share our faith in Jesus if we share our faith in Jesus with them.

The next generation will only share our faith in Jesus if we live out our faith in our lives in compelling ways.

May our lives teach our faith in Jesus to the next generation, in everything we say and do, as we live our lives well to the glory of God. +

A Prayer For The Care Of Children: “Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom so to train them, that they may love all that is true, and pure, and lovely, and of good report, following the example of their Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.” (#66, Book of Common Prayer, 2019).

Photo by Rene Bernal, from Unsplash. More photography can be found here: https://unsplash.com/photos/f0rdHx5P8sQ
MyCHS is an online hub and communication tool for members and attenders of Church of the Holy Spirit. 

It is also our online directory which members use to find out how to contact others, and to keep their info and preferences up to date. You can even see your giving records there. Please update your family's information today.

If you are a leader of a small group and would like to create a group in MyCHS to communicate with your members, please ask Monica to set you up.

If you attend CHS and do not have access, or if you need assistance, please contact Monica and she will send you a link so you can set up your account. Monica can be reached at 703-726-0777.+

SIGN UP OR SIGN IN: Click on the link and follow the steps listed below.

Fill out your PROFILE
Adjust your COMMUNICATION SETTINGS
Adjust your PRIVACY SETTINGS
Let's Get Social
by Pastor Robbie Pruitt

Are you on social media? Did you know Church of the Holy Spirit is also on social media? Have you followed Church of the Holy Spirit on your favorite social media outlet?

Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube by clicking the designated buttons below. You can also share this e-mail newsletter by clicking the share buttons below.

These buttons will be at the bottom of every edition of the Godsend from now on and we hope you will take advantage of them to connect with us and to share with your friends on your favorite social media outlet.+
 Schedule of Upcoming Events
Mark Your Calendar


February 6 - Healing Service at 5:00 PM
February 17 - Ash Wednesday Service at 7:00PM