Pastor Gayle’s Reflections

If you or someone you know would like or is in need of a visit, please contact Pastor Gayle in the church office, via phone (773-725-0121) or email (ccjpucc5320@att.net), via call or text to her cell (608-751-1948), or via Facebook message. Leave voicemail messages with details or with a message to call back.
Please note that if you leave a message Thursday afternoon through Saturday, it will not be listened to until Sunday morning.
Also let us know if you have visited someone, so that care and visits can be coordinated. Thank you!

I’m writing this on Ash Wednesday, the official beginning of the season of Lent. Yesterday, I prepared the ashes (with help from Dylan Mendro) by burning the dried palm leaves from last Palm Sunday. We use the dead, dried palms to symbolize the cycle of life. We are reminded that we come from God’s Beloved dust, and to dust we will return. We enter this season of repentance reminded of our mortality and, at the end of this journey we are reminded that in Jesus’ resurrection, death loses its sting; our life-giving, life-loving God has the last word.

But before we get there, we move through a six-week journey. For many Christians, this is a journey of change: we pledge to change a habit – to “give up” something, or add something. Some will give up a particular type of food or drink. Others will give up swearing, or single-use plastic, or shopping. Some of us will add something healthier, like exercise or drinking more water. Others will seek balance and deeper relationships with God, family, or neighbors. What changes will you make during these six weeks, in order to focus on deliberate actions and strengthened relationships?

I will be adding Open Sanctuary time to my schedule again this year. All are invited to join me in our sanctuary for prayer, reflection, reading, meditative coloring, walking meditation, or just plain walking. I often take lots of photos, enjoying the different light that plays in the sanctuary at different times of the day. A variety of recorded music is played during the sessions, ranging from contemporary folk, to Bach, to Christian, to lots of music composed by our pianist-composer Phil Orem. The sanctuary will be open to the public Mondays from Noon-1PM, and Wednesdays from 5:30PM-7:30PM, starting March 2nd and continuing through April 8th. Stop by for a few minutes, or for an hour. Engage in conversation, or silently acknowledge other participants. Use your imagination! I strongly encourage everyone to join me, at least once, to experience the wonder of our sanctuary outside of a regular worship service.

Whatever you decide to focus on this Lent, may your journey be blessed with the discernible presence of the Holy!

Gayle

Special Notes – Upcoming Worship Schedule:

  • Sunday, March 1: Worship with the Celebration of Holy Communion
  • Sunday, March 8: Girl Scout Sunday with our new Rainbow Troop!
  • Sunday, April 5: Palm/Passion Sunday, including the Procession of the Palms and the singing of the anthem “My God, My God” composed by Phil Orem
  • Thursday, April 9: Maundy Thursday will be marked with the Guild Agape service in the chapel at 11AM, and then a simple soup supper beginning at 6:30PM and a worship service at 7:30PM, both in Mayflower Hall
  • Sunday, April 12: EASTER – two services, breakfast, and more! Look for details in the mail!