February 23, 2014

Pastoral Letter

We human beings have an amazing ability to fill space. It seems that no matter how much space we allot ourselves, we fill it. “If I only had more room, I could get organized.” In preparing for one of our family moves, I came across a box in our garage that had not been opened from the previous move, 9 years earlier. It happens in our homes; it happens in our calendars and it even happens in our church home (Is there a reason we have curricula from the 60’s?) While clutter is in the “eye of the beholder,” it can profoundly impede our ability to welcome others, extend hospitality with joy and convey respect and dignity.

At Gethsemane, Jesus invites his disciples to wait with him, to set aside their fears, heaviness of heart, the thoughts crowding their minds and simply be present with him – and they fall asleep. During the season of Lent, which leads up to Easter, the community of faith seeks to set distractions aside in order to attend to Jesus’ presence. Our theme this Lent is “Waiting Room,” as we create room to wait with Christ. Jesus is always creating a place for others: at his table, in his heart and on his way. He offers others hospitality by clearing a place for them, setting aside the clutter that often fills our lives.

During the season of Lent, we are inviting our Los Altos UMC family to make room in our hearts, in our homes, in our church and neighborhood to welcome one another. Beginning this Sunday, we invite you to sign up for a small Lenten dinner group (6-8 people) who will share a meal together two times during Lent. These groups, along with the congregation at large, will gather for a third meal on Maundy Thursday, April 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

The journey of Lent begins with a day of prayer from 7:00 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Ash Wednesday, March 5. The day will begin with a blessing of the Ashes at 7:00 a.m. Resources for prayer and reflection will be provided for those who sign up for a half hour session of the vigil. More than one person can sign up for any time. The twelve-hour prayer vigil in the sanctuary will culminate in a worship service at 7:00 p.m. that evening.

May the season ahead encourage and equip us all for preparing a space to host the grace and joy of Christ.

Pastor Mark