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“The one who calls you is faithful.” —1 Thess. 5:24

Wednesday, February 18

Ash Wednesday

Minute for Mission

Angolan choir at First Presbyterian in Havana Photo by Christine Coy Fohr

 

Angolan choir at First Presbyterian in Havana

 

Photo by Christine Coy Fohr

 

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and God will say, “I’m here.” . . . The Lord will guide you continually and provide for you, even in parched places. He will rescue your bones. You will be like a watered garden, like a spring of water that won’t run dry. (Isa. 58:9, 11 CEB)

As we gathered for worship at First Presbyterian in Havana, Cuba, the overflowing congregation burst into celebration. Its pastor, Hector Mendez, had just recognized a member who was celebrating her 100th birthday. Strong, and smiling from ear to ear, she stood from her seat to welcome the congregation’s applause.

What had she experienced in this place, we wondered, in those 100 years? Once a bustling congregation, its numbers had dropped following the revolution. For years, the congregation was simply Hector and four faithful members.

On this sunny morning, the fruits of their prayers were evident. Members filled the sanctuary—many standing in the aisles or behind the pews. There was the church’s baseball team—boys ranging in age from four to 18—and the church’s Tai Chi ministry. A youth choir of 20 teenagers led our worship. A choir of 30 Angolan medical students provided the anthem. Young and old, gathered to worship God, now filled this place. Just think of all that this faithful disciple of Christ had seen in her 100 years.

Christine Coy Fohr, consultant for mission leaders, Presbyterian World Mission

Let us join in prayer for

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Yudelka Castillo, PMA
Rhonda Cates, BOP

Let us pray

God of grace, as we prepare for this season of Lent, equip us with perseverance. Use our brief lives for your glory. Empower us as your disciples, that even when the land is parched, we may know your presence with us, transforming what seems barren into life overflowing. Amen.

Revised Common Lectionary for Ash Wednesday

Joel 2:1–2, 12–17 or Isa. 58:1–12
Ps. 51:1–17; 2 Cor. 5:20b–6:10
Matt. 6:1–6, 16–21

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 5; 147:1-11
First Reading Jonah 3:1-4:11
Second Reading Hebrews 12:1-14
Gospel Reading Luke 18:9-14
Evening Psalms 27; 51

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