I write this on the morning of February 12, the coldest day so far this winter, and if the weather prognosticators are accurate, we’re right in the middle of a series of “snow events,” three in the last nine days and three more coming in about as much time. I have to keep reminding myself that spring begins officially on March 20. And reminding myself and reminding myself. I have to admit, I will be relieved when the season of “snow events” is over until next winter.
During Lent 2021, we’re still struggling with the COVID. I suspect you remember the lockdown that started just a year ago on March 15. Did any of us have any idea how that would develop? Be that as it may, everyone should know that the Andover/North Andover clergy association is planning a candle light service, around sunset on March 15, to commemorate the folks from our towns who have died from the virus and to pray for God’s ending it. It will be at Rolling Ridge Conference Center, 660 Great Pond Road in North Andover. If you’re interested, please contact me so I can make a “reservation” for you. Leave a message on the church number or call me directly.
Again, as I write, Ash Wednesday is February 17, beginning the Lenten season formally. We’ll be continuing our study of the book, “The Fruit of the Spirit.” One of the nice things about this tome is each of the fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) is dealt with separately, so you can jump in anytime and not have to worry about catching up. It’s on-line Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. I can help you get a copy of the book.
The other Lenten matter to keep in mind, Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, the last Sunday of March, the 28th. The deacons and I will be planning at least one special service for that week, probably Maundy Thursday, and probably in the sanctuary. If you attended Christmas Eve, you may remember the service with readings, music (but no singing) and candles. Maundy Thursday may well follow the same pattern, with sharing the communion elements instead of candles. If you have any ideas about how to make the occasion meaningful, speak to me or any of the deacons.
Hopeful that in the next few weeks, the weather will start moderating and life will begin to return to the green plants, we look forward even more to the memory of Christ’s death and resurrection. No matter what the weather may be, no matter what the virus has in store for us, the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross and his victory over death, will always be the life-changing good news.
Pastor Rob Branch, interim