Public Ashes

Pastor’s monthly newsletter article for April, 2014

ashesOn Ash Wednesday, two other Pastors and I headed to the King Soopers parking lot (the local grocery store in the neighborhood where Saint Peter is located), and set up a pair of awnings. We made ourselves available there for prayers, conversations, and the imposition of ashes with anyone who happened to stop by. It was a good day. A couple dozen Saint Peter members came by to pray with us and receive ashes. And perhaps more importantly, we met another dozen or so of our neighbors, most of whom stopped by to receive ashes. It seemed like a very good way to begin the season of Lent, and I hope we’ll be able to do it again next year.

This effort was born out of the understanding that times have changed for the Christian church in North America. There was a day when supporters or leaders in the church could expect that people would automatically come to us when they were looking for a sense of meaning or purpose or hope. This is no longer the case. If we want to reach our neighbors with the good news of Jesus Christ, in many cases we will have to reach out to them first – to go where they are.

So the question becomes: How can we connect with people {numberswiki.com|numbers|info}

who are not as likely to seek us out as might have been the case a generation or two ago? How can we help our neighbors discover that we are all welcomed into God’s love just as we are, and sent into God’s World to be a reflection of Christ’s love? How can we follow our Lord’s instructions to “make disciples” of all people?

Those questions will have to be answered on a congregational level, as every ministry considers how to make a difference in the lives of both members and neighbors. They will also have to be answered on an individual level, as believers consider how to support and encourage one another, as well as invite others to experience the grace we know in Christ.

On Ash Wednesday we made a public witness of our desire to live in humility and repentance. I hope some of the shoppers in the King Soopers parking lot became aware of that. I know that a few of them who stopped by to visit with us certainly did.

How then will we make a public witness of the power that the resurrection of Jesus Christ has in our lives? That will be our Easter question this year. I’d love to hear how you answer this for yourself. And I’d appreciate any suggestions for how our congregation might do this as well!

Easter blessing to you all,

Pastor Dave