The sun is shining, and it’s beautiful and warm here as I write this. But I know it’s wintry in much of the country, and some are dealing with dangerous cold and wind chills. I’m often grateful for our temperate weather here in Western Nebraska. We will almost certainly suffer through a Winter Storm or two in the next weeks or months. But Spring really is around the corner.
And with Spring comes a really wonderful time in the Church Year—Lent, followed by Holy Week. There’s an irony in the fact that we commemorate some of the least joyful times of our communal Christian life just as the natural world is coming out of the cold of Winter, and into the warmth and new life of Spring.
Lent begins this year on March 6th, with the commemoration of Ash Wednesday. This year, we will gather for Ash Wednesday worship at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Ogallala, at 7 pm on March 6th. That service will include communion and the imposition of ashes. We invite everyone to join us, as we consider Jesus’ temptations, and our own need for repentance and change.
Each Wednesday during Lent, we gather with other congregations in our community for noon Lenten Luncheons. While these worship services and meals are held in our building, each Wednesday another church leads worship and serves the meal. We begin at noon, with worship in our sanctuary. Then we adjourn to the Fellowship Hall for lunch together. We invite you to join us at First Congregational UCC in Ogallala for our Lenten Luncheons.
During Holy Week, we have several events together as a parish. This year, our Maundy Thursday service will take place on April 18th, at 7 pm at our Brule church—The United Church of Christ, Congregational, located at 500 N. Olive Street in Brule. We will gather to remember Jesus’ first communion supper with his disciples, his betrayal and arrest, and the beginning of his journey toward crucifixion. Join us at 7 pm April 18th in Brule.
On Good Friday, our Ogallala congregation offers a time of quiet prayer and meditation in our sanctuary. Our building will be open from noon to 3 pm for our annual Good Friday Prayer Vigil. There is no program for this event, simply a time for us to spend time with God, as we contemplate the death of Jesus. Join us at any time from 12 noon to 3 pm on Friday, April 19th.
On Holy Saturday, our Ogallala congregation has a long tradition of what we call “Cross Walk”. We will walk together throughout Ogallala, weather permitting, and remember the traditional Stations of the Cross. We begin with a short time of fellowship at 9:30 am. Then we begin our walk together. Please feel welcome to join us on our Cross Walk, at 9:30 am, Saturday, April 20th at First Congregational United Church of Christ in downtown Ogallala.
Yes, it seems a sad time of year, in contrast to the Spring rising all around us. But, on Easter Sunday, we celebrate the most important new life—Jesus’ resurrection and the promise of eternal life it brings to all of us! We invite you to be with us as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, April 21. Our two congregations will worship at our usual times: The United Church of Christ, Congregational in Brule at 9:00 am; and First Congregational United Church of Christ in Ogallala at 10:45. We will remember the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection, and celebrate with word and song.
The Mission of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Ogallala is to love God above all else and see the world through our Savior Jesus Christ’s eyes, by worshiping and praising God, evangelizing, and serving others as a Christian community.