Billy and I are back from a fantastic vacation in Panama. We drove all around the country, with the exception of Panama City, which we had someone drive us through to get our rental car on the other side. If we hadn't done that, we would still be in the middle of the most insane traffic I have ever seen. We had lots of other white-knuckle driving adventures on roads shared by cars, pedestrians, buses, taxis, horses and the occasional iguana. Billy and I stayed at two places on the coast with wide, palm tree-lined beaches, where the sand was black from the ash of volcanoes that erupted thousands of years ago. We also visited two mountain towns that were breathtakingly beautiful with lush vegetation, rushing winds and gentle rains. We met wonderfully friendly people and ate delicious fresh fruit, vegetables and fish (this vegetarian even tried some!) I'm sure if you twisted our arms, we would tell you even more stories and share our pictures when we get them developed.
Next Wednesday, February 14, is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. There will be two opportunities for worship: a short service with imposition of ashes at 12:00 pm at St. Mark and a 7:00 pm service with imposition of ashes at Zion. It will be a wonderful way to celebrate the love of Christ for all people on Valentine's Day.
The following Wednesday, our weekly Lenten meals and studies will begin, with the Bible study "Faces of Christ." Everyone will also have the chance to participate in this year's ELCA World Hunger Lenten project, in which individuals and families can choose a world hunger program to support as part of their Lenten discipline. In keeping with that theme, our weekly meals will be simple and easy to prepare, which we will do each time we gather. Here is the schedule for those Lenten Wednesdays:
February 21 at 5:30 pm St. Mark
February 28 at 5:30 pm Zion
March 7 at 5:30 pm St. Mark
March 14 at 5:30 pm Zion
March 21 at 5:30 pm St. Mark
"Be still and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth." The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Psalm 46:10-11