Happening Now Blog

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Something unforgettable happened at an Ash Wednesday service I led in my first congregation.  For the imposition of ashes, people came to kneel at the altar railing as they did when receiving holy communion.  Among those kneeling was a family with a couple children.  One child was about ten years old, the other much younger, maybe three or so.  I went down the line, drawing an ashen cross on the foreheads of daddy, mommy, big sister, and finally younger brother.  It felt odd to mark the cross on the little one's forehead.  How sad, I thought, to be pronouncing over him the formula, "From dust you have come and to dust you shall return."  But even children are mortal, and in need of God's grace.  So I did what the pastor had to do, and finally all the worshippers wore the ashen cross on their foreheads. 

That, however, is not what remains so memorable.  What sticks in my mind was what happened with this same family later in that worship service.  They knelt for holy communion, as they had to receive ashes.  Down the line I went, giving communion to daddy, mommy and big sister.  But when I came to younger brother, I couldn't give him the bread.  This congregation had a practice not to commune children until they had completed a first communion class, usually around age ten.  When I came to the little boy, he reached out his hand.  He was ready and eager to receive the wafer.  I had to tell him he couldn't have the bread, that he was too young.  He stared at me in disbelief, wrinkled up his face, and cried in a loud voice, "Why can't I have the bread!?"  And he began to wail in despair. 

As I passed him by to serve bread to others, I thought to myself that something is dreadfully wrong when a church allows me to paint the cross of death on a child but not to give him the bread of life. Ever since I have insisted that as long as parents are OK with their children receiving communion, I'm going to commune them, no matter how young.  As one pastor said, we don't need our children to understand the science of nutrition before we feed them.  And we don't need our children to understand all the theological mysteries of holy communion before we feed them.  So if you come to receive the ashes, please also enjoy holy communion — and may all God's children enjoy the feast.

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Lessons for February 22, 2015
Genesis 9:8-17
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:9-15


Wednesday   10:00 am Bible Study with Pastor Brian
                     11:30 am Ash Wednesday Service
                      7:00 pm Ash Wednesday Service

Thursday       10:00 am LLL
                      7:00 pm Council Meeting

Friday            1:00 - 9:00 pm Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday       10:00 - 11:30 am SOV Choir rehearsal

KOK Canned Food Drive
Loving Our Neighbors Canned Food drive: collection of non perishable food items.

SOV Youth Group Vacation Raffle tickets
get your tickets for a chance to win a 5 day vacation at
The Pines at Sunriver
$5 a ticket or 4 for $20.00

Lenten Potluck Soup Suppers
Wednesdays  5:30-6:30 pm (2/25, 3/4, 3/11, 3/18, 3/25)
Lenten Devotion 6:30 - 7:00 pm