“everyone who loves, knows God” (1 John 4)

Oh my!  More snow, and it was so cold the other day, and and…

This is why talk of Ash Wednesday (in 3 days), with its hope of Easter, with its hope of SPRING, sounds SO good!  We just feel like starting Ash Wednesday rightawaytoday!  But today is Sunday.

At least we had something quite different in place of a service today–"a change is better than a rest". Our pastoral staff had planned what they called an "Agape meal", to close off the recent theme about Communion/The Lord’s Supper.  It all originally started with a meal–the Passover Supper.  So we went downstairs to the Fellowship Hall, had the usual beginning-things for a service, a praise time, and then a meal that we fellowshipped around:  Pancakes and sausages!!  Cooked by about 8 fathers from the congregation!  Then we listened to Rob’s sermon about Agape love, using 1 John as one of the main references, while Carol took the children outside to burn last year’s palm branches in preparation for the Ash Wednesday service.

The Mom forgets whether they had communion before or after the sermon… (she should take me with her, but that would be too many people for me)!  Anyway, there was a small loaf of bread on each round table (that sits about 8 people), and a chalice of grape juice; and when the time came, communion was passed around the table for people to serve each other.  This was perfect, because The Student happened to attend today, and his explanation awhile ago about his reason for not taking communion at church, was mainly because he believes it should be taken within a small group instead. (A great idea, and how it was originally done!)

Rob reminded us that "if we’re not loving one another, it doesn’t matter what else we’re doing" (fancy programs, large projects). We also appreciate the lesson that "our salvation is fleshly"… the scripture talks about believing that "Jesus came in the flesh"; because there were some people in the Apostle John’s later years who talked about Jesus being just a spirit, and that all matter was evil, while spiritual things were good (gnosticism). John was a witness that Jesus had definitely "come in the flesh"–died for our sins, and rose again. This gives us a very concrete reality, that we need to take into our every day lives:  by loving those closest to us–knowing how to do ordinary things with tenderness, making the small every day sacrifices that are required of one who truly loves.  "They’ll know we are Christians by our love".

Also a good match for Valentine’s month!

Walk to Rivendell:  Injured by the Nazgul, Frodo is carried on the pony.

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