Edgar and Joe Miller volunteer at New Story Shelter during January's snow storm.

Edgar and Joe Miller volunteer at New Story Shelter during January’s snow storm.

On February 10th, we will be having an Ash Wednesday Service. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, or the 40 days of preparation before Easter. For many Christians it is a time of quiet contemplation about life and death. For others it may include the practice of fasting or giving up food. The purpose of these 40 days is to identify with Jesus Christ’s temptation in the wilderness and draw you closer to his call of self-denial. (Matthew 4:1-2).

But Lent doesn’t always involve the absence of food. This past weekend during the snow storm, Doug and I were invited by Edgar and Joe Miller to help out down at the homeless shelter at New Story UMC. Usually guests arrive at 7:30pm for a hot meal and a place to sleep for the night. All the guests head out at 6:30am in the morning with a bagged lunch in hand. Since there was a snow storm, the staff at New Story prayerfully decided to keep the doors open all day as well. This required more volunteers than normal to help out during the day.

Edgar called us up on Friday morning around 6:30am and left a message, “do you want to experience a blessing today?” That is code word for Edgar to offer us a job we couldn’t resist. We are so glad we, along with many of you, responded. Doug and I enjoyed fixing lunch and dinner, playing games, and building a puzzle with the guests. We could have been settled in the warmth of our own home. But instead we were gathered around the table with friends of Jesus.

I want to challenge you to make every meal count during Lent. Spend the next 40 meals with Jesus. Whether you volunteer to feed our friends at New Story, take a meal to a home bound member or neighbor, pack a water bottle and snack for those who greet you on the street, invite or sit with someone new at our fellowship meal, or simply pray for someone before you have your family meal, think about ways in which you can share a table with Jesus for the next 40 days of Lent. When you spend 40 meals with Jesus, you will truly receive a blessing!

Dining With Jesus,
Pastor Mary

*February Sermon Series: 40 Meals With Jesus. Join us in worship at 8:30am & 11:00am on Feb. 7th for a communion meal with Jesus as we begin the celebration of the 40 days of Lent. Dine with us on Feb. 9th @ 5:30pm for a Community Shrove Tuesday pancake supper. Donations will be accepted to support local mission projects. An Ash Wednesday Service will be held on Feb. 10th @ 7pm. Check out other opportunities to dine with Jesus on the missions page in this month’s newsletter.

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