Dear Glen Mar friends,

Yesterday's Ash Wednesday services were so meaningful - I'm grateful for all who helped, planned, served, sang and attended! We had the pleasure of offering ashes to our ELC parents for part of "pickup" time too, and I got to pray with 5 parents and 1 grandma, and answer the question "What is Ash Wednesday?" for an elementary schooler. I got to put a cross on the back of a little boy's hand, who looked so proud of his new "stamp."

As we start the Lenten journey together, let us engage in those Lenten practices designed for the Divine Heart Surgeon to work on our hearts: prayer, fasting (giving up something so as to be reminded of our dependence on God), searching the scriptures, and giving to the poor. And let us turn again to God, through confession, repentance, and forgiveness and make a new beginning with God.

Sometimes Lent can seem depressing to the outsider, but for me, Lent is my favorite season of the church year. I am in need of the reminder that God is in control, that all I have is a gift from God, to be used to bless somebody - and all the "stuff" I think my life depends on, isn't as crucial as I think, because my life, too, is a gift from God's hand. What I need most is Jesus.

It's not depressing to be reminded that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. Have you not seen what my God does with dust? God breathes animating breath into dust. God makes the wonder that is you and me out of dust.

Here's the poem I used as the benediction at last night's service, by Jan Richardson. It's called Blessing the Dust - A Poem for Ash Wednesday.

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners
or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial -
did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?
This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.
This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.
This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.
So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are
but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.

See you in Church - It's Lent, and we'll start a Lenten series called "First Things First."
Pastor Mandy

Glen Mar Church is still closed to the public. However, Glen Mar ELC has reopened. Online worship will continue on Sundays at 10 AM. Click for more information