Ponderings for January 9 2020

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.
And with those abrupt and stunning words, St. Mark begins his famous work relying on the stories and sermons that he heard from the Apostle Peter. And it is this beautiful, fast-paced, and succinct Gospel that will launch us into our 2020, where together we will focus primarily on Christ, seeking to know him and make him known.
No one, in the Scriptures or throughout history, has had an authentic encounter with Jesus and remained unchanged. The proud are made humble. The “worthless” gain self-worth and the oppressed find dignity. Choosing to know Christ and follow him leads to beautiful changes in one’s heart and relationships and surroundings. 
Here we go! 
By the way, how is your reading of Mark coming? You can do it. Sixteen rapid-fire chapters that tell the story of Jesus’ life and authority over all (chapters 1–8) and then his final days and death on behalf of all (chapters 9–16). This Sunday we will look at the first eight verses of chapter 1. I am prayerfully eager to see what the Lord will accomplish in and through us as together we focus our gaze on Jesus all year long.
I write you this Ponderings basking in the sun which is streaming through the windows in the Gathering Space. What an addition and gift this room has been! How did we get along without it? And it is so cool to see so many people enjoying it on Sunday and other times as well. So thanks for staying diligent and timely on your pledges for the Gathering Space. We need to see this through. And for those who are newer and have never pledged but are giving towards our Capital Campaign: thank you!  We are discussing how to finish the entire project with the sprucing up of the Worship Center. We’ll keep you posted.
Enjoy this sunshine. And the warmer temperatures this weekend. I will see you on Sunday and leave you now with the prayer of fourth-century Church leader Chrysostom. May his prayer be ours as we seek to focus on and follow Christ.
I am not worthy, Master and Lord, that you should come beneath the roof of my soul; yet since in your love toward all, you wish to dwell in me, in boldness I come. You command; open the gates, which you alone have made. And you will come in, and enlighten my darkened reasoning. I believe that you will do this; for you did not send away the harlot who came to you with tears, nor cast out the repenting tax-collector, nor reject the thief who acknowledged your kingdom. But you counted all of these as members of your band of friends. You are blessed forevermore. Amen. 
I’ll catch you on the other side,
Pastor Paul