I recently read a biography of the famed artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Renoir came from humble beginnings. Born in 1841 in France, he and his family moved to Paris where he attended school. Although he was a "very diligent" student, his work didn’t get much recognition. No one could have anticipated what fame awaited him.

As he studied with other artists, his painting techniques gradually improved. In time, he was hired as an apprentice to a master ceramic maker and learned how to decorate plates. Gradually he developed his own fresh approach and proved himself to be a rising talent.

In 1874, he joined other colleagues in an exhibition in Paris. This was the first exhibition of what became known as “impressionism.” Like other Impressionists, Renoir embraced a brighter palette, giving his paintings a warmer feel. He also used different types of brushstrokes to capture his artistic vision.

His work proved to be revolutionary because he demonstrated a new way of looking at the world. More than a novelty, this innovation led to changes not just in art but also in architecture, music, and other disciplines. These innovations were possible because Renoir was willing to look at the world in a new way.

Jesus encouraged us to remember the importance of our eyes – what we see; what we focus on. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.” Consciously or unconsciously, we make a choice each day as to how we will view ourselves and others. We choose to look through selfish, worldly eyes or through the eyes of the Holy Spirit. What we see impacts our thoughts and attitudes; our emotions and our feelings. We determine our perception of the world and those we meet in it by the light we have within us.

The insights developed by Renoir remind us to think about our own lives. To ask ourselves what we allow our eyes to see. What is our focus? “If your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" - Matthew 6:23

Ask God to open your eyes, to help you see the world as He sees it. –Pastor Terry



If you haven’t done so already, then this is a good time to reflect on the meaning of Lent. Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means "spring." The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptations of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.

Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.

The first Sunday in Lent this year began on February 18th, but Lent officially began on February 14th called “Ash Wednesday”. The ancient practice of marking one’s forehead with ashes is a reminder to, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” It’s also to remind us of Genesis 2:7 that God formed human beings from the dust of the earth. On March 25th, the Season of Lent ends with our celebration of “Palm Sunday” – the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.

While you may be aware of this season leading up to Easter, you may wonder how you might “observe a holy Lent.” There is no one prescribed way. Instead, we are each encouraged to find our own method of confronting our sinfulness, remembering our mortality, and giving thanks for the gift of salvation we receive through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It is our ardent prayer that you will join with us in worship this Holy Season of Lent to lift your voice with ours in praise to the Lord of Life and Light, Jesus Christ.

With God’s blessings always,
Pastor Terry

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LETTER TO THE CHIMES --- February & March 2018