Epiphany to Lent

Posted by on Jan 31, 2015 in Pastor's Desk | No Comments

Six short Sundays after the Epiphany quickly bring us to the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, February 18. But first, we will celebrate “Shrove/Fat Tuesday” (2/17) with a traditional pancake – sausage supper. This presents us not only with an opportunity to say farewell to our ordinary rich foods for simpler fare of the 40 day fast, but also to support with your financial gifts and encourage with your love and prayers those who plan on being part of a short-term mission team to the Native Americans in western South Dakota the week of June 8.

As I write this article, many of the baptized are observing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, beginning with the Confession of St. Peter (1/18) and ending with the Conversion of St. Paul (1/25). In that spirit, and in light of the ongoing persecution and suffering of Christians in the Middle East, I bring to your attention a commemoration dear to our Orthodox brothers and sisters of Antioch (Syria, Lebanon and abroad):

The Centennial Jubilee of the Falling Asleep of St. Raphael of Brooklyn (1915-2015), “Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America”. (from their website): Our Father among the Saints, Raphael (Hawaweeny), Bishop of Brooklyn, was the first Orthodox Christian bishop consecrated on American soil. Traveling throughout the continent in the first years of the 20th century, he founded thirty parishes in North America. His feast day is celebrated in the Antiochian Archdiocese on the first Saturday of November. St. Raphael, a man of angelic name and apostolic fervor, was influenced by many cultures. He was born and raised in the Middle East, educated by Greeks at Halki and by Russians at Kiev, and he spent the last nineteen years of his life as a missionary in North America.

Practical Suggestion #2 from “Live the Six: Learning to Live as an Everyday Missionary” from Lutheran Hour Ministries: Get in the habit of asking people around you if there’s anything you can pray about for them. As they talk to you, write the concern down. It will help you actually follow through and will show them you’re serious about their concerns.

With great joy I anticipate going with all of you into the desert/wilderness with Christ our Lord to grow stronger and closer to the One who “for us temptation sharp He knew, for us the tempter overthrew”.

Pastor Paul Becker “…the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).