As we enter the month of March, we are also entering the season of Lent. Ash Wednesday kicks things off, and then we start our Lent series called “Reckless Love”. During the journey to the cross, this series will teach us how to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength by showing us how to love our neighbor. Please join us in the neighborhood to take this journey together this year.
Lent is not the only thing I want to discuss with everyone this month. Last year, at this same time, we were returning to in-person worship after three months of not being together. I have some more exciting news to share as Lent starts this year. The Washtenaw County Health Department decided to lift its mask mandate on February 28th. Considering this information. the current Covid numbers and a discussion during the Church Council meeting, leadership has decided to follow the health department in lifting our masking guidelines starting March 6th. I thought this would be some good news to share as Lent begins.
Being able not to wear masks is not as simple as it sounds. Yes, we no longer require people to wear a mask while in the building. However, we strongly recommend that you still consider wearing one for your safety and protecting others. The choice is yours to make, and no one will be questioned or shamed if they choose to wear one or not. Please be mindful of this last statement. As we live out our vision at Marble, remember that some key characteristics of a good neighbor are being respectful, kind, compassionate, peaceful, and loving. Since the beginning, I have always asked everyone to do everything we can to respect and protect those who come to worship with us. I believe this is something simple we should be able to do.
Alright, the next thing I would like to talk about is celebrating some of our neighbors. After 2021, Marble has some leaders that have come off various committees, and I would like to thank them for their service. From Trustees, we would like to thank Jim Bolz, Andy Charter, Dave Ludwig, and Sue Sweet for their willingness to help maintain the church's assets. From the Staff Parish Relations Committee, thanks go out to Jane Kartje and Mike Sweet for their time serving the staff and leadership of Marble. Finance also wants to thank Marcia Bolog and Kevin Jarema for working on the budget and finances of the church. If there is anyone that I missed, I apologize, and we thank you for your service as well. I also realize we did not celebrate those who came off in 2021, which was not intentional, but we honor your service. Another characteristic of a good neighbor is being joyful. Moving forward, we will do our best to make sure we celebrate those who serve our neighborhood. Again, thank you.
Finally, “Pastor Matt's Neighborhood” is back on Facebook on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Everybody is welcome to watch the latest episodes of “Wrestling Beyond the Pulpit”, too. For our social media fans out there, check out our Instagram and TikTok pages. Thank you to Aby Cryderman for all the work she is putting in to make our social media presence known to the entire neighborhood.
On our journey to the cross, I pray that everyone takes it upon themselves to figure out what this Lenten season means to them. I encourage you to fast from those things trying to separate you from God. Also, add a spiritual discipline or get back into one to deepen your relationship with God. Consider inviting a new or familiar neighbor to join us for worship. Be sure to sign up for a churchwide study of “Reckless Love”, too. Lent is not just about remembering what led to Christ's death or why we celebrate Easter but also honoring the new life we have because of his sacrifice. I look forward to our journey to the cross and learning how else we will love on our neighbors.
Peace be with you.
Pastor Matt West