Hey everyone!

I’ve mentioned recently that sometimes we make Lent too much about giving up something (fasting from chocolate, or Facebook, or alcohol…or church!). But we miss the point if we just see Lent as an opportunity to empty our lives of something, and do not seek to be more open to the presence of Christ all around us.  Lent is not just for emptying, but spiritual filling. 

That’s why I love the new little song we started learning in worship last week, by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, titled Christ Within (based on St. Patrick’s Breastplate, an old Irish prayer). It reminds me of Christ’s presence all around, willing to fill us…

     Christ within, before and behind

     Christ beneath, above, beside

     Christ every hour, every day, every night

We’ll bring this tune back as the Sending Song again this week, and hope to tackle it as a round.  To that end, you might want to give it a listen a few times and get it in your head so we can pull it off!  Here’s the link so you can practice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkH6FjTfCtI

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Sunday’s sermon text is Mark 8:31-38 – and it’s kinda of a doozy.  After Jesus spells out what’s ahead for him (namely suffering, rejection, death, and rising again) Peter freaks out and reads Jesus the riot act. Then Jesus reads Peter the riot act!  The next thing you know, Jesus paints a picture of what discipleship looks like – to follow him in self denial and take up your cross. I’m pretty sure this did not go over so well either, at least initially.  So, how does it go over with us?

I hope you’ll take time to read through the passage a few times and see what you think, and let’s talk about it together on Sunday. 

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And before I sign off, a few updates

Mark Smutny recently resigned as the Program Director for Compass at First Presbyterian (the shelter in the church basement) to take a position as Operations Manager for Sound Generations’ Hyde Shuttle transportation program.  Robert Taylor is now the Program Director, and we wish him very success!

Gail Irving has decided to make a change - while she loves being at FPCS, she desires to use her ordination and be more directly involved in pastoral ministry (including preaching and leading worship more regularly) and has been invited by Rev. Doug Early to do so on Sunday mornings at Queen Anne Presbyterian Church.  As a result, Gail's last Sunday being in charge of the meal at FPCS will be this Sunday, Feb 25. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us, Gail – we pray God’s blessing on your new adventure!

Be the church!

Pastor Heidi

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