I think it’s in Kelly Rimmer’s novel “The Things We Cannot Say” that she mentions pa̡czki. I was not exactly sure what kind of eatables delights paczkis are but I quickly discovered they are deep-fried pieces of dough shaped into spheres (or as my simple brain would say – donuts without the holes) and are stuffed with sweet fillings. Paczkis are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing, glaze or bits of dried orange zest. (Hopefully this serves as one of your educational moments for today – just in case there is a Jeopardy question.) How fitting (rather than how manufactured, which we can argue later) with this being Shrove Tuesday and all.  So this means the Wismers are highly likely to eat pancakes for dinner tonight. Then Ash Wednesday arrives and just a reminder, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm tomorrow, you can have your forehead or hand marked with ashes in our drive by option the North side of the Sanctuary (Youth House) parking side.  Then the season of Lent begins on Sunday, February 21st.  As we contemplate this season where pertinence, repentance, fasting and other themes emerge, we did not want to dismiss the significance of self-reflection. Lent is a season of self-reflection. As I tarry with self-reflection I believe self-reflection may be the most important activity for growth, change and justice-living both personally and culturally. Self-refection always matters.
As we pondered our desire for this Lenten season we settled on the theme of “Blessing.” “The Hebrew word which is most often translated as ‘bless’ is barak.  It is related to the knee and literally means to kneel in a humble position before God. One author writes this, “It conveys the idea of being strengthened of our weakness and being compensated with God’s strength.” Interestingly, the same writer says that since the knee “is one of the weakest parts of the body, a blessing from God empowers us to be able to do what is not within our natural capabilities.” As you make your way through this Lenten season we invite you to let your blessings settle upon you.  T.S. Eliot wrote, “We had the experience, but missed the meaning.” Don’t miss out on your blessings.

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 17:7-8
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Reflection Questions:
How has God blessed you? And/or – How is God blessing you?
How is being blessed and being privileged the same?
What have you most worried about during this Covid-19 year?

Prayer: Holy God, give me reason to pause and ponder what I did today (or what I will do today) that will make the kind of difference that you desire of me.  Let me not fear the responsibility of being blessed by you. Amen.

To view previous readings click HERE