2-16-21 FUMC Updates – Buildings Remain Closed Through Friday

Brrrrrrr!!! Today is Fat Tuesday, the day before the sacrificial season of Lent begins … this is the day of Mardi Gras and last-minute BINGING before the fasting begins. But today? Well, as if COVID didn’t damper the celebratory spirit enough, here we are like bears hibernating in winter, locked in our homes trying to stay warm! I’ve closed all my blinds to keep as much heat in as I can, I’ve closed the vents in the rooms I do not use, I cooked a few things that would require a stove (knowing that keeping things COLD wouldn’t be a problem), and with no electricity for the last 2 hours this morning, it’s been darker than it WOULD be on a normal day!  Who knew Texas could get this much snow and have such bitterly cold temperatures!

I have heard from some of you who have been without electricity for HOURS and HOURS and your spirits are good and you’re doing your best to stay warm! I know we’ve been told to prepare for rolling blackouts and I pray that all of you have everything you need to be safe and sound in the coming days … please let me know if you DO need anything!  The forecast is warning us that it could be difficult through mid-Friday but … to everything there is a season and throughout history, some seasons are a little tougher than others! This too shall pass!!

During my devotion time this morning I came across this scripture from JOB … it reminds me that God created the seasons, He knows what He’s doing and when we trust Him, we also know that amid the ICE AND SNOW, He is always working for good … always!!!

God roars with his wondrous voice;
    he does great things we can’t know.
He says to the snow, “Fall to earth,”
    and to the downpour of rain, “Be a mighty shower.”
He stamps the hand of every person
    so all can know his work.
The wild beast enters its lair,
    lies down in its den.
The storm comes from its chamber,
    the cold from the north wind.
By God’s breath ice forms;
    water’s expanse becomes solid.
He also fills clouds with moisture;
    his lightning scatters clouds.
He overturns the circling clouds;
    by his guidance they do their work,
    doing everything he commands over the entire earth.
Whether for punishment, for his world,
        or for kindness,
    God can make it all happen. JOB 37:5-13

BUILDINGS WILL REMAIN CLOSED THROUGH FRIDAY, 2/19 …this is certainly no surprise, but it does mean that our Ash Wednesday service will be on Facebook NOT in the sanctuary.

WHAT IS ASH WEDNESDAY? 2/17, 6:30 PM, Facebook LIVE … I hope you’ll all plan to make time for this incredibly special and sacred service that begins the Lent season. If you still do not have Facebook to watch it with us LIVE, it will be on YouTube as soon thereafter as we can get it uploaded. Throughout church history Christians have used the 40 days before Easter, (not including the 6 Sundays), to remember the sacrifice Christ made for us and to prepare for the glorious resurrection! We do this by intentional focus on fasting, prayer, penance, almsgiving, devotion, and study. It begins with Ash Wednesday, reminding us that because of sin, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, forced to live lives with toil, pain & trouble, and then ultimately die. And yet, in God’s mercy and grace, He sent His son to offer us FORGIVENESS and return to us the gift of His presence in ETERNAL LIFE.

On Wednesday night we’ll impose ashes on our foreheads together … while you can use a drop of simple olive oil, please light a candle at the beginning of the service as part of your sacred space, then at the end, you will blow that candle out and when the wick is cool, you can use the ash from the wick. If you don’t have a candle, you can use a match or a lighter to burn the bottom of a can from your cupboard and rub off the ‘SOOT’ when the can is cool.  This is all symbolic but the symbolism, which we’ll talk in-depth about on Wednesday night, is powerful.

ZOOM LENT STUDY WEDNESDAY, 2/17 10 AM … we begin our WIND IN THE WILDERNESS study with Isaiah who sees the winds of the Holy Spirit blowing in the worst of times.  The analogy of a magnificent skyscraper beginning with a deep hole in the ground is where we’ll begin so please join us … get the info on the calendar HERE.

I’m sending this email in the moments the electricity is now back on … I will now take off 1 of my 3 pair of socks, 2 of my 3 sweatshirts and my coat, and my “fingerless” mittens … make a cup of coffee and heat up some soup … and most importantly, take time to be GRATEFUL for electricity which I have taken for granted!!

Please call if you need anything!
Pastor Debbie