Weekly News February 16, 2021
A Message from Pastor Dave Schreiber
Dear Risen Lord disciples:
Ash Wednesday has always been for me a powerful reminder of our common mortality. Whether making that ashen sign of the cross on a forehead of a frail, aged parishioner who would undoubtedly not be present next Ash Wednesday, or on the soft forehead of a newborn infant, it was hard sometimes for this pastor to keep my composure as I spoke the words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” This past year the pandemic has made that reminder of our mortality inescapable.
And yet, Ash Wednesday does not leave us merely with a sobering reminder of mortality. The reason I was often filled with emotion is that as I traced that cross upon a forehead, I gazed into the eyes of a fellow beloved child of God, whom Christ has given life and salvation. Lent, after all, literally means “spring” and it is intended to be a season of sober reflection, yes, but for the purpose of a “spring-like” renewal and an embracing of the risen life we live in Christ for the sake of the world.
Early in 2020, the show This Old House travelled to the town of Paradise, California, after it was devastated by wildfires. In addition to the experts’ standard construction advice, this episode captures the destructive power of fire, the loss that the people of the town experienced, their continued sense of fragility, and their efforts to “rise from the ashes.”
Dear friends of Risen Lord, I invite you this Wednesday into a Lenten journey to “rise from the ashes” – the ashes of the pandemic, the ashes of grieving the loss of your pastor, or whatever ashes would distract you from experiencing how precious and vulnerable our lives are and prevent you from experiencing the grace of God that grants us the power to rise once more and truly live.
So: even though we cannot be physically together in worship this Wednesday, please take time to gather in Spirit with your fellow sisters and brothers in the Risen Lord community. The ELCA Worship website has an order of service called
“Worship in the Home: Ash Wednesday, February 17th, 2021”
which you can use whether you are alone or with loved ones by following this link:
In addition, our Indiana-Kentucky Synod Bishop, Bill Gafkjen, has recorded a sermon and prayers for Ash Wednesday. As you follow the ELCA order of service noted above, use Bishop Gafkjen’s sermon for your devotional thoughts as you prepare to make the sign of the cross on yourself or the loved one(s) you are with. Just like Risen Lord’s weekly sermons, Bishop Gafkjen’s Ash Wednesday reflection is can be found on the Risen Lord website. Simply scroll down to the bottom home page to the newsletter link, click, and it will be there with the other worship videos.
In the following Wednesdays of Lent, Pastor John Hawkins and I will record simple, short liturgies for your reflection on the theme of community. Our prayer is that these midweek reflections may be a small part of our Lenten “springtime of the soul” as we journey forward to Easter.
Be well, friends. You are loved.
Pastor Dave Schreiber