From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear PPPC,

Lent is as early as it can be this year, and so is Easter! The Lenten Season begins every year on Ash Wednesday, which just so happens to be Valentine’s Day this year. Given this, we will have one service at 7pm in the Sanctuary (and via Zoom, thanks to our wonderful Tech Team). There is not a dinner this year – look instead for a shared meal on Maundy Thursday.

I hope you make it to our Ash Wednesday Service, sing the hymns, hear the scriptures and meditation, come forward for the imposition of ashes, and receive those familiar, jarring, yet comforting words:

You are dust and to dust you will return.

A few of my colleagues are choosing to alter the words of imposition slightly this year:

You came from Love and to Love you will return.

Fitting, isn’t it? You came from Love. Not earthly love, but capital-L Love. From God, who loves you and knows you and claimed you before you were even able to respond. You came from Love, for God is Love (1 John 4:16). From the only one who knows and is the perfect Love which drives out all fear (1 John 4:18). And to Love you will return. Death will not be the end for you. Death does not get the last word (John 11:25-26). Love does. And Love is the Word, and Light, and Life everlasting. It’s actually quite beautiful, the intersection of a commercial, secular holiday with some deep theological truths.

During our Ash Wednesday Worship, I’ll be using the traditional language, mainly because I believe and trust that there is something important in our liturgical practices. That hearing the same words each year allows them to rest a little more fully in your soul.

But if the dust is just too much for you this year (a common remark about Ash Wednesday), remember what the dust, your mortality, proclaims. As Nadia Bolz-Weber puts it, “Your mortality is only offensive if you hear it as an insult, rather than a promise.”

I invite you to begin this Lenten season praying on this promise, from Romans 8, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the LOVE of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

You came from Love and to Love you will return. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. You came from Love and to Love you will return. You are dust, and to dust you shall return. Thanks be to God.

With deep gratitude for our shared life together,

Pastor Molly

Ash Wednesday
February 14, 2024
7pm Service of Worship, In-person and via Zoom
(Includes Imposition of Ashes)