I am deeply grateful for the celebration held last Sunday to mark the 10th anniversary since I came with my family to serve with you as pastor of First Christian Church. Both in worship and over conversations around good food, the stories shared were uplifting and a testimony to the faithful presence of God among us. I thank everyone who dedicated time and effort to pull off the surprise celebration. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, expressions of appreciation, and love!

I am overjoyed that today, as I write these words, expressions of love continue to flow from this congregation. Today is Ash Wednesday. Right now, with the wind blowing and raindrops falling, members of our church are in the parking lot marking the sign of the cross on neighbors stopping by: “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return. You are a beloved child of God.” Ash Wednesday calls us to stop, take a pause, and humbly remember. We are creation—our very existence dependent on forces beyond ourselves. Breathed into life by the breath of God. Sustained by the gifts of God’s created earth. Upheld in the strength of God’s Spirit. Our being held within the Holy Presence. Our life within the life of God.

I hope you get a chance to come by today to receive the blessing of Ash Wednesday and that this day will begin a wonderful Lenten journey of seeking God together.