April 2016 


Easter came early in 2016.  It won’t come any earlier for 19 years (2035) on March 25th. It can come as early as March 22nd, but that won’t happen for 269 years (2285).
This year I challenged you to attend midweek Lenten services “above and beyond” your regular weekly attendance. When I pitched the idea I pointed out such historical reasoning behind midweek Lenten services. Traditionally they were to be “darker” services that focus more on repentance than celebration. I slipped in video clips from “My Son, My Savior” to give a context of the work of Christ to save us from our sins. I wanted the Wednesday evening services to be more than just “another worship service” for you. Did it work?
Did you find that attending an extra service each week provided you a different perspective on the worship experience?
Statistically our attendance was higher this year than last year for midweek services.  For those of us who were there, you were an encouragement. Thinking about one’s own sin and the price it cost is the kind of thing that a person can surely appreciate the company of fellow believers.
If you missed out, I understand. These are complicated times. The church is being assailed from all corners of society. There are pressures at work, at school and with our other activities that all compete for our time during Lent on a Wednesday evening.
Now I am asking you to plan ahead – one year ahead. Ash Wednesday in 2017 will be on March 1st (3 weeks later than this year). Services will be at 4:00pm and 6:30pm. I ask you to plan now so you have it mind when you committing to recreation, sports, extra projects, etc. in 2017.
I make this emphasis because the midweek Lenten services were not merely a memorial service. In those services you and I gathered before God’s altar to consider the sobering reality that God sacrificed his son because of our sins. Yes, Jesus died for the sins of the world but that especially means he died “for me.” You and I, as individuals, caused his death.
Again, I know the pressures you face when asked to take another six evenings out of your busy schedule. I will work hard with the Worship Committee and congregation leadership to make it worth your time. This is important enough to start planning now.  March 1 is easy to remember. Plan now to allocate 6 more hours in 2017 with God. It is worth the effort.
In the afterglow of Lent and Easter,
~ Pastor Robert Fleischmann

The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. ~ I John 1:7