Vanna News: February 2015

Please join me for the Ash Wednesday service at 7:00 on February 18th.

Hello faithful folks at Vanna!

Jim and I are just about to walk out the door for the flight to Israel. Our first stop, however, is Newark, NJ, which is currently in the midst of a winter storm. Our first flight was cancelled due to snow and sleet. Now, we have been assigned to a different flight and, hopefully, by this time tomorrow we will be in Bethlehem.

I am grateful for the opportunity to see Israel with my husband, but this past week has been something to deal with! What are the chances of never having the flu before and getting it one week before an international trip? That, along with the subsequent upper respiratory infection and having a hand still recovering from surgery has made circumstances difficult.  Through it all, though, God has been reminding me of his generous heart. How great is the Father's love for us! (1 John 3:1) We serve a God who gives, and gives, and gives. "For God so loved the world that he GAVE his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)  His generosity toward me has been overwhelming at times, as I am sure it has been toward you as well.

How do we give appropriate thanks and praise to a gracious God who keeps giving us what we do not deserve and covers our sin so that we don't get what we do deserve? Perhaps the best way is by cultivating a generous, gracious spirit ourselves. As we move toward Lent, I am reminded that people just like you and me hurt Jesus tremendously, even to the point of death. Yet, he still found it in heart to pray (from the cross no less!), "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) As we creep toward Easter, we must first make our way past the cross and the tomb. This segment of the "Resurrection Road" journey strikes me as being the right place to lay down old grudges, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and resentments.

 In this month when we celebrate love and Valentine's Day, will you join me in intentionally cultivating a more loving, forgiving, generous spirit? Then, maybe when we get to Easter Sunday, the heavenly host will look upon us all and say, "Wow! They are just like their father!"