St. John's Lutheran Church | 391 Mount Hope Road, Middletown, NY 10940 | 845.342.1963 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
“In the beginning…..”
Those are just three words, but some very important words. Did you know that they are the very first words of the Bible: “In the beginning…..” (Genesis 1:1) You might be interested to know that those are also the first three words of the Gospel of John (John 1:1). Clearly they are words that we cannot ignore.
Beginnings. What do you consider to be your beginning? The day you were born? Perhaps the day you were conceived? Maybe the day you were baptized? Maybe you look back on your childhood as your beginning. For many those were happy, simple, and wonderful times; but for many others, childhood was complicated, difficult, and stressful. It is sad but true that many people did not have a happy childhood. Others might trace their beginning to when they went off to school, when they graduated, or even when they became an adult and perhaps got married or became a parent. When we each think of our own individual beginning, we each get to chose the place we believe it all began.
In matters of faith, we do not get to choose where we see “our beginning.” The Christian faith teaches us, that we all began with GOD. That is why in the first book of the Bible, at the start of the first chapter and the first verse, we start with the words: “In the beginning.” In the beginning there was God. Everything else came later, and follows from that.
It is no secret that Lent is one of my favorite times of year. Even though it is the busiest season of the church year for me, it is also my favorite because of the extra opportunities for worship (Lenten Wednesdays and Holy Week). I enjoy getting to select a “Lenten theme” that is the focus of our Wednesday services. This year that theme is:
“In the beginning…..”
On our Wednesdays this Lent we will be taking a look at some of the “first stories” of the Bible, specifically the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis. Sometimes these are called “pre-history,” not because they did not happen, but because the story of Israel and the people of God begins in Genesis 12 where we meet Abraham and Sarah. The rest of Genesis is their story and the story of their descendants, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and his brothers.
Genesis 1-11 tells us about what happened before Abraham and Sarah, “in the beginning.” That will be our focus during the five Wednesdays of this coming Lenten season.
We will only be looking at eleven chapters, but there are some very important things in those eleven chapters. We will be looking at creation (both stories), the fall into sin, the expulsion from the Garden, the story of jealousy and murder, the babble of language, and of course the flood and the promise. I invite you to come on this journey with me, and we look at these stories together. You might want to bring your own Bible, but don’t worry if you don’t (our church has plenty).
For the second year in a row we will have a simple Lenten lunch following the noon service. Jean Petela is organizing this effort, and she will be looking for help in supplying items for the meal. There is no cost, except that you have to worship first if you want to share in the meal! Hopefully many of you will want to help.
We all know that we came from God, and one day we will return to God. This life is His gift to us, that we live until we are called home to be with Him again. Together we will explore this “beginning” and what it might mean to us today.
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Rustico +
St. John's Lutheran Church