First Sunday of Lent – Through the Wilderness.
Sermon: “Showing Up” – Dr. Hugh Litchfield
Through the Wilderness
In my sermon last Sunday, I noted that our church is entering a new chapter in our life, coinciding with the beginning of Lent. As we follow Jesus into the Lenten wilderness, I am heartened to remember how Jesus emerged at the end of that difficult period — strong, clear, and prepared for the work he was meant to do.
In the weeks and months ahead, there will surely be moments that feel like the wilderness — confusing, uncomfortable, and exhausting. Even so, let us pray that our journey through this wilderness will also be a time of self-discovery, from which we can emerge stronger, clearer, and prepared for the mission God has set before us. Our theme for Lent will be “Through the Wilderness,” as we join together to follow wherever God may be leading UBC.
Let us begin this Lenten journey as we observe Ash Wednesday together this week.
February 07 – Rev. Will Brown;
February 14 – Dr. Hugh “Doc” Litchfield;
February 21 – Dr. Tracy Hartman (Baptist Women in Ministry Emphasis);
February 28 – Rev. Gary Dalton;
March 06 – Rev. Gary Dalton;
March 13 – Rev. Gary Dalton;
March 20 – Rev. Jack Averill;
March 27 – Rev. Jack Averill
Snow days! We have a range of emotions about them. The young and the young-at-heart get excited about school cancellations and snowmen. Even those of us who are older can still marvel in the quiet of the snowfall and the way it makes the world look new and beautiful. Of course, many others see snow differently as they contemplate the work of shoveling, the possibility of losing electricity, and the interruption to their lives. But whether we like the interruption or not, there’s not much we can (safely) do about it until the snowfall is over. We can sit and wring our hands about the work we should be doing or the places we wanted to go — or we can embrace the opportunity and see the time at home as a gift.
I’m not going to sugarcoat the challenges of a snowstorm. My back reminds me that this weekend’s shoveling has been hard. But it has also been a gift to see the beauty of the snow … to have time to read or watch some games on TV … to be with family without the rush of a schedule … to chat with neighbors as we dug out our driveways and cul-de-sac.
As my last Sunday approaches, I am mindful that in some ways, I am facing — and UBC is facing — an interruption. We know there will be challenges. Let us also be open to its gifts.
The Church Council is exploring ways in which our church might be more inclusive to those who are willing to serve on committees, councils, teams and thus provide additional avenues of service within our congregation. More specifically, we seek to clarify which positions of lay leadership should require church membership or associate membership as a prerequisite to serve.
We welcome your comments and thoughts before we make a recommendation to the congregation at an upcoming Church Conference. Diane Mundell, Sarah Wilson, Larry Johnson, Will Brown, and I serve on this Church Council task force, and we welcome your input.
Ed Smith, Chair
This past Sunday we were all treated to the infant dedication of Seth Brown with his parents, Will and Erin, big brother Luke, all four of his grandparents, and four of his great-grandparents in attendance. Luke’s gentle pats on Seth’s back during the service were especially poignant. It is heartwarming and encouraging to see four generations of a dedicated and exemplary family coming together before God and their church family. For many of us, it was also an opportunity to reflect on similar occasions with our own children and grandchildren, and a
reminder of the life we share as the family of Christ throughout time.
This Wednesday, January 20, we will hold our next Church Conference and Town Hall meeting at 6:15 pm in Fellowship Hall. The topics to be covered include:
Please make every effort to attend this important Church Conference.
— Ed Lowry