St. Luke's United Methodist Church


4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32819
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A Note from Pastor Melissa-February 23, 2023

Posted on February 23, 2023 at 9:57 am in .

Dear St. Lukers,

I’ve had a lot of heavy conversations with people recently. We, collectively and individually, seem to be carrying a lot right now. Whether it’s personal or family illness, financial challenges or job loss, mental health concerns, conflict with friends or family, or the overall concern for our community and society, I have had more conversations with St. Lukers in the last few weeks about heavy, heavy things weighing on them than I have in a long time, even in some of the hardest days of the pandemic.

And my pastoral recommendation to all of them has been, beginning this week, to lean into Lent. There is so much that Lent has to offer us when we are carrying heavy loads.

This year, we recognize that we are fully back to a world of busyness. We are fully back to a world that is pulling us in every direction. We are fully back to a world where it is nearly impossible to focus, to center ourselves, and to find peace. And so many people have shared that challenge with me, believing it’s something they, alone, are experiencing in their unique life circumstances.

Lent is that season where we recognize that while we are all on our own individual journeys, we can find support and sustenance on those journeys in common practice, shared experiences, and through the Christ who Scripture assures us walks with us through it all.

This year, we’re going back to the ELEMENTAL basics of faith. The simplicity of the elements of ash, Spirit, mud, bones, water, and palms. The elements that guide us through Jesus’ story, so that we can be guided through our own stories. The elements that have guided the faithful through the ages, because while we have our own unique circumstances, the journey of the faithful is also a tale as old as time, and our ancestors have words of wisdom to offer us as we embark on it as well.

I hope you’ll join us by not only being present in worship each week, but also taking a Lenten Guide that is going to be your daily companion in this season. Each week will follow the same pattern of a variety of practices, some likely more familiar and comfortable than others; some likely new and spiritually challenging.

We also hope that as part of your Lenten journey this year you’ll join one of four Wednesday night study groups that will help you go deeper this season (click here to learn more and register).

As usual, we’ll wrap up the week on Sunday with worship, where we’ll worship in the Sanctuary (Traditional worship) and Founder’s Hall (Contemporary worship) at 9:30 a.m., and then at 11:15 a.m. for the season of Lent we will be trying out a blended service experience in the Sanctuary, where each week there will be a different mix of both Traditional and Contemporary music, and maybe some special surprises along the way!

See you Sunday as we name the wilderness into which we are entering, and name all the blessings the wilderness has to offer us along the way.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Melissa

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