February 5, 2023, brings a nice event for Northeast Ohio Synod Lutherans. The Rev. Heidi Holst will be installed as pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Warren. The service is at 3:00 pm. For me, that will be an especially nice day. After Holy Communion at Living Lord, you have your monthly healing prayer time. After the prayer time is over, I will head over to the Packard Museum. That is a special place in my memory because my dad was a huge Packard fan. His favorite was a 1937 convertible with the special storage under the seat designed for golf clubs. As he advanced in age, he and I took several nostalgia trips together. Among them was a visit to that Packard Museum. After my time there, remembering my dad, I will head over to St. Paul for the installation service.
February 20 brings an American holiday that tends to be forgotten, Presidents’ Day. The Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day dominate February holidays, but I have a specific memory stemming from Presidents’ Day. It prompted me to think thru for the first time the doctrine of the Trinity. I was in second grade. Schools had pictures of George Washington, white haired and wise looking Father of our Nation. Schools had pictures of Abraham Lincoln, who seemed to have a pained expression; he was assassinated for having saved the union. In my early prayer life, I confused Washington and Lincoln with the Trinity. Was Washington God the Father? No, he was only father of our country. Did Lincoln die for our sins? No, Jesus died for our sins; Lincoln was murdered. I recall consciously telling myself that Washington and Lincoln were presidents, they were not God. They may be in heaven with God, but they are not God. I am not sure why I still recall the satisfaction I felt at coming to that realization.
February 22 brings Ash Wednesday. Your Council has approved a nice outline for Lent 2023. A single Ash Wednesday service will be held at 4:00 pm. This follows the success of a single Christmas Eve service at 4:00 pm. We receive ashes on Ash Wednesday. Because it is a fasting and not a feasting day, there is no meal at church on Ash Wednesday. But when Lent mid-week services begin the following week, there will be weekly Soup Suppers followed by a brief Lenten service in the Fellowship Hall.
Writing about Ash Wednesday reminds me what a privilege it is to share in the liturgical cycles with you at Living Lord. A concern I had for myself heading into retirement was how would I observe the church’s cycles? Advent-Christmas-Epiphany is a cycle. Lent-Holy Week-Easter is a cycle. Even before ordination, those cycles informed a lot of my living and scheduling. I am grateful to be your interim pastor for many reasons. A main reason is I am assigned to a community of faith where I can continue to celebrate the church’s worship cycles. So, thanks for enabling me to participate in the liturgical rhythm that has fed and fueled my faith life for decades.
While I am giving thanks, thank you so much for the unexpected “Pastor’s Purse” you presented to me on Christmas Eve. As I am only an interim pastor, I did not expect that. Your generous gift to me is much appreciated.
Wednesday Bible Study…Pr. Meranda leads weekly bible study every Wednesday at 11:00 am in the Activity Room.
Interim Pastor Meranda’s Office Hours…Interim Pastor Michael Meranda will be in the office on Wednesdays from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. If you need to reach him at times other than on Wednesdays, please call his home phone of 440-998-7321.