Dear Friends,

One warm summer day two years ago, our grandson Ben, visiting from Chicago, was playing in a small pool in our back yard. Time passed as he hopped in and out, water splashing, balls flying. After a time, my focus shifted from the present moment to all that was left to be done that afternoon. Ben was not as eager to move on as I was. After an extended unsuccessful appeal to get him out of his swimsuit and into shorts, I finally plopped down in a lawn chair and said “I give up!”. At that, Ben stopped his joyful splashing, looked at me quite seriously and said “Don’t give up. I don’t”. I couldn’t help but laugh. The reason I was giving up was because he didn’t! It won’t surprise you that once I gave up, so did he and the rest of the afternoon went on without a hitch. Fortitude and persistence are usually a good thing but sometimes, just sometimes, we have to give up to make progress.

This year our Lenten theme is, “I Give Up! Letting go of Hopelessness”. After the year we’ve had, the idea of giving up chocolate or TV just doesn’t seem to get at the heart of the change we need in our lives. The greater challenge, and maybe even the greater discipline, is to give up hopelessness in order that we might take hold of the gifts and graces God offers us.

I encourage you this season to take advantage of all the opportunities set before you for worship, study, prayer and service. Whether you are able to get out or not, we have powerful ways of connecting with one another and with God. Please read and pray with all that is in this Messenger. Whether it be soup making, soup buying, book reading, or wall painting, together we commit ourselves to giving up hopelessness so that we can pick up grace!

I keep you in my prayers…Pastor Sarah