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Psalm 103:8-14 (CEB)

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
    very patient, and full of faithful love.
God won’t always play the judge;
    he won’t be angry forever.
10 He doesn’t deal with us according to our sin
    or repay us according to our wrongdoing,
11     because as high as heaven is above the earth,
    that’s how large God’s faithful love is for those who honor him.
12 As far as east is from west—
    that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.
13 Like a parent feels compassion for their children—
    that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor him.
14 Because God knows how we’re made,
    God remembers we’re just dust.


Today is both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It’s a moment to reflect on love and mortality and grace. As a church, this Lent we will offer several opportunities to grow deeper in your spirit:

  • We invite you to worship fully – every Sunday in Lent as well as during Holy Week (Holy Thursday & Good Friday). Tonight, we begin with Ash Wednesday worship in the sanctuary & on Facebook Live at 7:00 pm.
  • We encourage you to pray about how you might like to mark Lent – by giving something up, by taking something (like a new spiritual discipline) on, or some combination. Take a look at this page for some good ideas.
  • We are planning a series of small-group gatherings to foster both connection and joy that will start in Lent and continue through the spring. We plan to offer sessions on bread baking, pizza making, gardening, and watercolor painting – stay tuned for dates. If you’re not on our mailing list, send us an email to sign up for our weekly email.
  • Monday-Friday beginning on February 19, Kate and I (along with others) will be leading a daily 20-minute time of devotions on Facebook Live at 7:00 am (Eastern Time). We’ll be working from a book by Kate Bowler called Have a Beautiful Terrible Day, which is a series of reflections on life in all its beauty and all its pain. You might consider picking up a copy.

As an invitation to join us in the mornings on Facebook Live, here’s the Ash Wednesday meditation from the book to guide your reflections today:

These days of dust.

These days of despair.

We can hear reality speak to us

in a clear, ringing voice.

So we approach. Carefully. Barely ready

to hear the hard truths we long to be told

about beautiful, terrible death.

How strange that if feels so right and good

to walk forward together

wearing our finitude,

a mess of ash smeared on our foreheads

to be told:

remember that you are dust,

and to dust you shall return.

How strange that if feels so right and good

at the edge of awareness

-the balance point

of being and nonbeing.

I catch my breath as I turn and look

to see the shining faces all around.

I see it all in a glance:

how precious

how precious

how precious

how holy each single, imperfect life,

how beautiful

how great

how unconquerable

each single, unfinishable life,

because you deemed it so.

You looked on us, covered in death,

as a man about to walk a darkening path,

the only one who could wipe away

our ashes

with a single act of love.

-Kate Bowler

For Pondering & Prayer

Holy God, grant that us a meaningful, holy Lent as we seek to grow ever closer to you. Amen.