We are soon approaching Lent. Ash Wednesday is on March 6. We have two worship times at Ascension, at 12 noon and 7.30pm. This year I am going to slightly modify the words that go with the imposition of ashes – Remember that you are earth, and to earth you shall return. The season of Lent helps us to be/become better humans. It gets to the foundation of our creation and our faith. The season with its practices invites us to return to what is most important. (In Hebrew – the word ‘repentance’ has the sense of turning back, or being turned back, to God)
The Epiphany season started on January 6th and continues all the way to March 3. (Lent and Easter are later this year.) This gives us more readings from Luke’s Gospel – including Jesus being rejected in his home town, his call to go and fish for people, and what is known as Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain, and some hard hitting sayings that are similar to their longer form in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. In Epiphany (the word means ‘revealing’) light is shone on Jesus to reveal more about him, and light shines from him into our lives, and our church, and the world.
I remember that after I was called as pastor to Ascension 9 years ago, I asked that my installation service be held on Ascension Day Evening. (Ascension Day is always on a Thursday, 40 days out from Easter, and 10 days before Pentecost Sunday.) The call committee did not think a Thursday evening worship would be well attended, so we went for a Sunday instead. This year’s Ascension Day falls on May 5. Vicar and I will be hosting the members of the Lutheran Pastor’s Cluster at Ascension on Ascension Day. We are planning a small worship service in the sanctuary, and then we will have some discussion about the meaning of Jesus’ ascension.