From the Pastor March 2019: A Time of Preparation

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From the Pastor's Heart

Rev. Dana NortonGreetings, Sisters and Brothers in Christ!

It is difficult to believe that we’ve already been here nearly ¾ of a year. The time has flown by. Some days it feels as if we just arrived. Other days it seems as if we have been here forever because the good people of New Covenant have been so welcoming. You have embraced me and my family as your own and we truly feel that we belong here. We have been through our first Advent and Christmas, our first set of charge conference and year-end reports, and, by the time you read this, our first stewardship campaign. Confirmation class is ongoing. There has been even more, but rather than looking back, let’s keep our focus ahead.

We are about to enter into our first Lent and Easter together. Lent is really about preparing our hearts, minds, and spirits for Holy Week. We will begin with Ash Wednesday when I hope you will join me in a fast (as your health allows). After worship and imposition of the ashes, we will break our fast together with a shared meal.

Our worship throughout Lent will explore Gifts of the Dark Wood. There are gifts to be found even (perhaps especially) in the dark night of the soul. If you’re not in a dark night right now, you’ve likely been there before and will surely go there again. The gifts we will find there will guide us not only through the darkness, but will draw us closer to God.

In addition to our worship, we will travel through the dark night that is often a part of grief in a 6-week grief group on Saturday mornings. This group will be open to anyone experiencing recent or distant loss through death or other loss of relationship (though we will focus on loss through death). This will not be a ‘preachy’ group so literally anyone should feel welcomed.

We will service our community with an Egg Hunt and hot dogs on April 13 (day before Palm Sunday) from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Sunnyvale Park. And before we enter Holy Week, we will join the parade, celebrating as we wave palms.

This year, we will walk through Holy Week together. Many are eager to rush from the parade of Palm Sunday to the resurrection of Easter morning. But it is through the full experience of Holy Week that Easter reveals the glory of the Kingdom of God. Our youth will lead us through Maundy Thursday and our combined choirs will shepherd us through Good Friday with a Tenebrae Service.

At the close of the Tenebrae Service, we will enter together into a time of contemplative prayer as we move from the death of Jesus to his resurrection. You will be invited to sign up to be a part of our continuous “In The Tomb Prayer Chain.” Some will pray in our sanctuary while others will pray during the night at home. Details will be coming soon.

On Easter morning, we will “flower the cross” as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, the glory found in the Kingdom of God that is ours. Sisters and brothers, we must first empty ourselves (Lent) so that we may experience the glory of resurrection (Easter) in expectation of the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost).

I am blessed to be living out my own life of faith among you.

Peace be with you,
Pastor Dana