Ice and Ashes

Deciding whether or not to hold in-person worship services can be a tough, sometimes agonizing thing. This month, especially. Forecasts calling for snow or ice to be falling just as we are scheduled to be gathering...

This past Saturday we made the right call for Sunday. Thanks to Archie, the parking lot and walkway up to the building were clear and we were able to get in and be together. It seemed like forever since we had.

Our February weather has been strange. But much worse in other places. Sunday there was a bigger ice storm in southside Virginia. Lots of heavy-laden trees came down, taking power lines with them, and most of the region was plunged into cold darkness. A powerlessness that persists. Audrey's father, and her brother and sister-in- law, with the spotty help of generators, are OK—but chilled.

Meanwhile, Texas is having its worst weather in decades. Austin went from its usual highs in the 70's to an unheard of 9 degrees yesterday, with deep snow and wind chills at 15 below zero. John Mark and Daniela are worrying about the danger of frozen pipes in their new home, even as they shiver in the cold.

No doubt you have family spread out over a broad swath of the country experiencing the same thing. Our prayers go out for them. And now we might have another storm here in Northern Virginia later this week, too.

Today is "Fat Tuesday"—the day before Ash Wednesday (see FBCA Ash Wednesday activities here)—traditionally a final big party before the sober season of Lent begins. There's not much partying going on anywhere these days, though. And Lent means something different to me anyway. Less a time of deprivation than a time to draw closer to God and prepare for the remembrance of crucifixion and the celebration of resurrection. Ashes on the forehead, in the shape of the cross, a reminder that we are all mortal, weak and frail, and in need of what only the LORD can give us.

Check out our website for a way you can participate tomorrow—outside at Fort Ward Park, or quietly at home.

Tomorrow night in my Facebook Live Bible Study at 6:15 PM we will be talking about how to spend this 40 day season in a more meaningful way.

Evidence to the contrary, spring is not too far off now and will be here before long. We just have to wait and be patient. And, in whatever dark coldness we might find ourselves, to look for the presence of Christ and listen for the warm comfort of His voice.

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