Ash Wednesday @ FELC: Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes:
February 14 at Noon and 7:00 pm
The season of Lent begins with this solemn day of repentance and receiving ashes as a sign of mortality and humility. We are invited to begin the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, almsgiving – works of love. Returning to God’s mercy and grace, we make our way through Lent toward the joy of Easter. The noon liturgy is an abbreviated service. This year the noon liturgy is also in conjunction with the quarterly Gathering of Senior Saints. The 7:00 pm liturgy is preceded by Companion Café at 6:00 pm. Both liturgies will include imposition of ashes and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. All are welcome as we begin a holy Lent together.
Companion Café – Breaking Bread, Making Friends:
Wednesday, February 14, 6:00 pm
Companion Café serves on Wednesdays from 6:00-7:00 pm in the fellowship hall. We offer a chef-prepared meal for a suggested donation of $5 ($3 for children). It’s great to meet friends and new people.
The menu for February 14 is Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Tomato Soup, and Chopped Salad.
Sunday, February 18
First Sunday in Lent
Word & Eucharist with Healing Prayer – 8:30 am
Faith formation for all ages – 9:45 am
Word & Eucharist with Healing Prayer – 11:00 am
Scriptures for Sunday, February 18 (Lent 1,Year B)
First Reading: Genesis 9:8-17
Today’s reading is the conclusion to the flood story. Because of human sin, the Lord destroys the earth by flood, saving only Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark. Yet divine destruction gives way to divine commitment. As in the first creation, God blesses humanity and establishes a covenant with all creatures.
God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Gospel: Mark 1:9-15
The Spirit that comes upon Jesus at his baptism sustains him when he is tested by Satan so that he might proclaim the good news of God’s reign.
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
The Season of Lent
Lent is an old English term for “spring.” It’s a time for preparation for new life at Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 40 days before Easter, excluding Sundays, connecting it to Jesus’ 40 days and the Israelites 40 years in the wilderness, both times of preparation. Sundays are not counted because they are always celebrations of the resurrection. The themes of Lent are wilderness time, repentance (meaning a turning around of one’s life), following Jesus in the way of the cross, and preparation for baptism and renewal at the Easter Vigil. The primary color purple reminds us of penitence. While Lent is a more solemn season than Christmas or Easter, it is a time of growing trust in God’s power to renew our lives. The traditional ancient spiritual practices for Lent are prayer, fasting – forgoing certain foods for a time of refocus, and almsgiving – giving to the poor.
Directions to First English on Sunday, February 18
Over 17,000 runners are scheduled to participate in the Austin Marathon/Half Marathon/5K on Sunday morning, February 18 beginning at 7:00 am. The Austin Marathon has been running since 1992 and has grown to be the 25th largest marathon in the USA. This year is the course is different and will have a greater impact on us, making attending First English this Sunday morning challenging.
According to marathon leaders, the best driving directions to FELC on Sunday morning are:
Take IH 35 to MLK Blvd.
(Runners will be coming South and turning East at the San Jacinto/Dean Keaton intersection)
Formation with Adults in Lent: Marks of the Christian: beginning February 18
Last fall when we conducted a survey on preferences for adult formation, the top categories were Faith and Politics, Social Justice, Faith and Film, and Spirituality. Our recent offerings have addressed the top two. (Pastor Coffey plans to offer a new Faith and Film series this spring.) For the adult forum during Sundays in Lent at 9:45 am, we will focus on Spirituality. Lent is a time to focus on spiritual growth and discipleship in the way of Jesus. Our adult forum will focus on Marks of the Christian, using a Lenten devotional with the same theme, based on Romans 12. Copies of the book are $10. To order a copy, email email@example.com
Sundays in Lent Focus on Food Justice: Beginning Sunday, February 18
This Lent we practice alms-giving with a particular focus on our ministry partner Micah 6. Please bring canned foods, money, and pantry items, helping to promote food justice in our community. Since Micah 6 can buy food from the USDA at $.12/lb, both monetary and food offerings are welcome. Canned meats are particularly helpful, as are specialty pantry items such as dessert and stuffing mixes. These offerings will be received as part of the worship offering on Sundays in Lent.
Midweek Lent Evening Prayer: Journey to the Vigil
Wednesdays from February 21 to March 21 at 6:45 pm
The season of Lent developed from the period of preparation for baptism at the Easter Vigil. It then developed into a season of renewal of the baptized at Easter. The readings for the Easter Vigil are filled with images of baptism, renewal, and the paschal mystery of Christ. Our evening prayer services during Lent at 6:45 pm will use some of the readings from the Easter Vigil to help us dive deeper into these great texts as we prepare for our own renewal in Christ’s death and resurrection at Easter.
Capital South Conference Meeting: Sunday, February 25
The annual meeting of the Capital South Conference of the Southwestern Texas Synod will be held on Sunday, February 25 at Abiding Love Lutheran Church (7210 Brush Country Dr. Austin, 78749) beginning at 3:00 pm. The agenda will include the Potential Nominees for Bishop process as requested from the synod. A new bishop will be elected at the 2018 Synod Assembly May 5-6. This Potential Nominees process is a chance to bring forward names to potentially be nominated at the synod assembly. Once votes for nomination are collected from all eight conferences in the synod, the synod will contact potential nominees to see if they would like to provide a profile to be shared publicly prior to the synod assembly. Anyone who is a voting member of a congregation in the conference may attend the conference meeting as voting members. The agenda will also include a presentation from the synod’s Strategic Planning Task Force and the new vision statement developed for the synod.
Austin Crop Hunger Walk: Sunday, February 25
First English Lutheran Church is Going to the Austin CROP Hunger Walk!
February 25 (registration at 2:00, “grand step-off” at 2:30 on a 2.4 mile route).
A walk to raise funds to end hunger. In Austin, the CROP Hunger Walk supports several organizations including the Central Texas Food Bank, Refugee Services of Texas, and (of special interest to FELC) the Micah 6 Food Pantry.
Camp Mabry (there will be carpooling to help make it easier to get there).
YOU! YOU can help by walking: To register as part of the FELC team, go to https://www.crophungerwalk.org/austintx/.
After registering as an individual you can connect to the FELC team.
After registering as an individual you can connect to the FELC team. YOU can help by pledging funds to support FELC walkers, either online or in-person on Sundays. YOU can pray for the success of the walk, and for an end to hunger in Austin and around the world. We can commit to pledge, to walk, donate, and pray. Let’s see how much of a difference we can make in the world! For more information, contact Chris Paton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 678.642.3055.
Friendship and Dialogue Dinner: Thursday, March 1 at 6:00 pm
The Dialogue Institute of Austin invites everyone to a Friendship Dinner on Thursday, March 1 at 6:00 pm at the Asian American Resource Center (8401 Cameron Road, Austin, 78754). In the current world of strident rhetoric, it is vital we work together as people of various faith traditions and of goodwill, in the spirit of earnest compassion, cooperation, and community service. For tickets and more information: http://www.thedialoginstitute.org/event/dialogue-and-friendship-dinner-18/?event_date=2018-03-01