Think of a relationship that was or is very dear to you.  What made it dear to you? Are there other relationships that you have with someone that may not be the ultimate relationship but that are still very dear to you? When I think about those special relationships that I have, most if not all of them, were not planned. They came out of nowhere. They can be the reason why we get up in the morning, or they may just give us reason to smile on occasion.
Whatever the case may be, they are dear and precious and should never be taken for granted. But it can happen.
Friendships, sadly to say, can be interrupted by life. Our attention can be so focused on work, play, hobbies, study, sports etc. that we lose sight of and ignore that person most dear to our hearts. Left unattended to, the relationship can be deeply hurt or even die.
Everything I have just mentioned can be said of God, at least for me. Growing up, I knew God was with me.  We grew closer over the years. The closer I came to know and experience God with all life’s ups and downs, the more that I came to trust God with my most protected thoughts, even though he already knew them. I am grateful that God stayed nearby even during the times I wandered or snuck away or simply became too busy to bother with him. As I have come to experience and trust him closely, the easier it will be the day that I become most near to him.
All of my relationships have remained healthy, life-giving-and enjoyable to the extent that I have been intentional about nurturing them. Setting aside time for them has been important. Having open conversations was critical. Admitting and acknowledging my failures and accepting  forgiveness and love was life-giving. The closer we opened up to each other, the dearer they became to me.
Everything that I have said in the last paragraph 
can be said of God.
This Lenten Season, I encourage you to give attention to your relationship with God.  I bid you to not focus on the giving up chocolate or any other indulgence. Giving up “things” doesn’t nurture a relationship. Being in relationship usually includes time and conversation. With God, it usually includes prayer, reading scripture, worshipping, sharing your experience with another believer, sitting in silence, singing praises, giving of yourself.
As your pastor, I have tried to offer opportunities to help you. To begin Lent, I have added an Ash Wednesday service at noon to compliment the one at 7:30 p.m.  A nursery will be provided. Diane will be teaching the children about Ash Wednesday at the beginning of Friends of Faith. During Lent, Taize services will be offered on Tuesday nights (nursery provided) where there is time for reflection, communion, anointing and praising. Offered during Lent (at any time) is an opportunity to do a self-guided Stations of the Cross in the sanctuary or simply come by to sit and pray. Devotions will be available to take with you. A set of beads will be given out to hang or place anywhere in your house, car, place of work, etc. to remind you of what you are doing intentionally during these forty days.

I do desire that you come closer to God. The God we know and love is in each of us and between us. He comes closer tome through you. Christ brings us closer to God the Father and Holy Spirit. It is a mesh of relationships. When we nurture them and give attention to them, we find life to be pleasing . Almost daily there is a smile on our face as we are with each other and God. Let love fill you heart and may peace and love that exceeds all understanding be in your hearts forever.

In His Service
Pastor Bob