God is love. 1 John 4:16
Did January seem long enough to you? It did to me. The cold, the snow, the interminably dark mornings and short afternoons. So now it’s February and life seems to pick up the pace as we wait for Spring. There’s a lot to look forward to.
And February is the month of LOVE! As soon as the calendar page changes, we circle the 14th and plan for Valentine’s Day. It is a time to focus on the ones we love. We show our love by giving gifts, making special dinners, and sharing candy hearts. And don’t forget the cards. Homemade cards are the most treasured, but many stores also offer a huge selection of clever, funny, or just plain mushy cards. There are many ways we can show love this month. Recently, the American Heart Association even adopted February as the month to show love to others. And as Christians we know we are always to show love to others. St John says: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God” (1 John 4).
Love does indeed come from God. How appropriate that in this month of love among people, that so often seems superficial, we can again begin the commemoration of that deep sacrificial love of our God for us. February 22 is Ash Wednesday. Christians around the world mark the beginning of the 40 days of Lent. These solemn days focus on the depth of God’s love for us. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1John 4:9-10).
Luther wrote that Christ redeemed us with “his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death.” Those words that roll so readily off the tongues of confirmands represent an enormous toll paid by our Savior — betrayal and abandonment by his friends, unimaginable physical torture, and hours of agony on the cross … finally forsaken. In the words of Isaiah ‘he was crushed for our iniquities’ (Is 53:5). St. John reminds us that Jesus endured all this because he loves us. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). God IS Love!
May our devotions during Lent increase our appreciation for the priceless peace of sins forgiven. May our faith be strengthened. Most of all, may we be moved to daily sing the praises of our Savior King and best friend!
Never was love, dear King,
Never was grief like thine.
This is my friend,
In whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend!
The Easter retreat will be in Würzburg, April 6-9. We have reserved all the available rooms at the Jugendherberge and that should be enough space for all those who have tentatively indicated they plan to participate. If we were to get more attendees than we have rooms reserved, we will take volunteers to stay at a local hotel. The retreat will begin on Thursday, April 6, with dinner and worship in the evening. Both on Friday and Saturday there will be bible study and children’s activities in the morning with lunch at the hostel. Afternoons are free. Friday evening we will have worship. Saturday evening we will eat in a local restaurant. Sunday morning we check out of the hostel and then have our Easter festival. Plan now to attend!
News From Our Worship Groups
Congratulations and God’s blessings to Tana Waldschmidt who was baptized and confirmed on January 22. Pictured here with husband Mark, daughter Brooklyn, and sons Ezekiel and Otto.
Visit to Belgium
On our way to visit a serviceman in Belgium we stopped at the Ardennes American Cemetery and the Netherlands American Cemetery.
In January €300.00 and CHF200.00 were received in basket offerings. €1,715.46 were received as direct deposits.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:7,8
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