10:30 a.m. Charles Fillmore Chapel, Unity Temple on the Plaza
February 1: Presentation of Jesus/Candlemas, Bishop Janet Sunderland
February 8: Bishop Cliff Kroski
February 15: Bishop Janet Sunderland
February 18: Ash Wednesday, Bishops Kroski &Sunderland
February 22: First Sunday of Lent
Bishop Cliff Kroski
Ash Wednesday Service
The Ash Wednesday Service will be on Wednesday, February 18 at 6:30 p.m. e hope you can join us as we begin the season of Lent.
We begin February with the celebration of the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, Candlemas, and St. Blaise Day. We’ll bless candles for the coming year and receive a special blessing of throats.
The story of the Presentation is the wonderful account of two people, Simeon and Anna. Simeon, who was waiting for the Messiah, receives a revelation that Jesus is the chosen one. He recognizes Jesus as a “light for revelation to the Gentiles and as glory for the people of Israel.” Anna, a prophetess, “gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.” She recognizes Jesus as the long awaited Messiah.
We recognize the Christ light in us, as we celebrate this day of Light and Blessing.
On February 8th, we hear an Old Testament reading from the Book of Job. “Is not life on earth a drudgery… I shall not see happiness again.” We hear Job’s cry of lament and pain. In the Gospel reading in Mark, Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law and then is besieged by people coming to him to be cured. We all feel the pains and drudgeries of life, but do we recognize the light of the Christ is in us to help heal our despair and hopelessness?
We continue this cheery spirit on February 15th when Leviticus talks about the uncleanliness of leprosy and how, in Jewish law, the unclean must remain outside of society. In the Gospel, we see an indication of the mercy, compassion and power of Jesus, when he has a leper approach him and rather than avoiding him, Jesus heals the man.
The actions of Jesus to welcome the outcast and disenfranchised of society, poses a powerful message in our present day social culture and in political beliefs.
Ash Wednesday arrives with the beginning of Lent. The ashes which will come from last year’s palms, remind us that we seek to be transformed from our past. This transformation is from the death of our attitudes and actions which keep us and hold us in darkness. We are told to “follow the light” as we celebrate the weeks of Lent.
The First Sunday of Lent gives is a Genesis reading promising God’s covenant with Noah after the flood. Mark’s gospel has a rather brief version of Jesus being driven into the desert by the Spirit where he is tempted by Satan. Unlike the other Gospels, there is no account of a conversation with Satan. It concludes with Jesus proclaiming his message, “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.”
This passage reminds us to seek transformation in this Lenten season and believe in the good news, as we “Turn from darkness and follow the light.”
+ Cliff and + Janet