Dearly Beloved,

February is nearly upon us, and in two short weeks, we will celebrate Ash Wednesday. We will host a community service here on Wednesday, February 14 (yes, it's also Valentine's Day) at 7:00 pm. Please plan to attend. Ash Wednesday is one of my favorite services and rituals of the year. Part of what this means is that Nikki and I are busy with plans for Lent. We'll be reading the Gospel according to Mark, the shortest and earliest written of the gospel tellings. During worship, we will focus on questions that are asked by people and by Jesus. 

When I was in college, my grandmother sent me a beautiful card and on the front it said simply: "Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and learn to love the questions themselves." It was my first exposure to poet Rainer Maria Rilke. I have since learned to love his writing on questions, on love, on marriage, on vocation and life. "Learn to love the questions themselves." My hope for us with Lent approaching is that we will learn to love the questions. We may look for answers, but in the meantime, we'll live with the questions -- the ones we read in Mark's gospel and the ones we carry in our own hearts. 

And. And we're not quite to Lent yet. This Sunday we'll celebrate communion and our beloved Craig Jump will share some of his reflections about belovedness. Every time, we have someone else share, I am reminded by the richness of experience and wisdom and gift right here in our congregation. We are so blessed to have people willing to share their stories, their questions, their journeys with us. 

We have a leaders' retreat on Saturday. Please be on the lookout for an email about that if you are an elected leader this year. 

I'm holding each of you in love on this beautiful January day.