As we begin the month of February, not only has winter arrived, but we continue our journey through the season of Epiphany hearing the call to let the presence of God be manifested in our lives. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian Church, the apostle tells the congregation that “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7). These manifestations of the Spirit, otherwise known as spiritual gifts, are given by the Spirit, as the Spirit choses, so that church, as the body of Christ, might find unity in its diversity and join together in pursuing this common good. On the first Sunday of February we will hear the word from Paul found in 1 Corinthians 13, the famous love chapter. Paul put this chapter right in the middle of his discussion of spiritual gifts. While we won’t be looking at chapter 14 of this letter, his word concerning love is the foundation for what is to come. Whatever our gifts, if they are not made use of in love, they have no value. This is a good word for all of us— “faith, hope, and love, abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).
As we move through this season of Epiphany, which lifts up the light of God shining into the world, we know that Lent is on the horizon. This year Lent comes rather late. Last year we observed Ash Wednesday on Valentine’s Day. This year we will wait until March 6th, which means that Easter won’t come quite as early as last year. So, as we enter February may the light of God continue to shine in and through us.
Looking forward into the future, I want to note a few dates. First, the Regional Assembly is scheduled for Saturday May 4th. We will be meeting at the Blaine Church in Arcadia—near Camp Crystal. You may want to plan a visit up north and say hello to our friends at the Blaine church. Then in July Disciples from across the United States and Canada, and beyond, will gather in Des Moines for the General Assembly. I know that a number of us are planning on going. For the first time since 2001 all three Cornwalls will be attending (Brett is going as part of the Disciples Seminary Foundation community). The theme this year is “Abide in Me” (John 15:1-5). The General Assembly, (https://ga.disciples.org/)as Diana Payton has been reminding us, is a great opportunity to meet the broadehr Disciple family, as well as have opportunities to learn about all manner of things. Of course, there is business and there is worship and there is preaching as well. This year things are scheduled a bit differently. We will close on Wednesday morning with worship and a word from Rev. William Barber. So, if you can, join us.
Finally, there is the matter of the upcoming sabbatical. This is an opportunity for me to step back from my duties as pastor, to gain refreshment, before returning to join you in the work of the ministry here at CWCC. It is also a time of refreshment for the congregation. We are working on scheduling a variety of preachers, as well as two weekend gatherings that feature Dr. Ron Allen and then Dr. Marti Steussy. The theme, once again, is “River Crossings.” We will be learning about moments of transition and new opportunities in the course of these conversations. So, stay tuned for more information.