Pastor’s Page

Pastor Chris Priester — cell 814-496-8218– ph 814- 857-2987 — cpriester@susumc.org

Planned Office Hours at Lake St UMC Parsonage for the next week.  These are subject to change. Please contact Pastor Chris ahead of time to confirm availability with a call to his cell number, text, or email.   Also, you can schedule an appointment at a different time with Pastor Chris.  Wednesday 7:30 am to 12:00 pm and Friday 7:30 am to 11:30 am.

Dear Friends in Christ,

We can look forward to several different special days during the month of February. It is the only month with less than 30 days. Usually, it is 28 days with the exception of leap year which does not happen in 2023 but will occur again in 2024. Did you ever wonder why there are fewer days in February? I did and looked up some facts on it.

The earliest Roman calendar had only 10 months. The calendar had March through December due to ancient Rome being an agricultural society. They did not need to keep up with days or months during the winter. Thus, the year ended in December and the new year began in March. There was nothing in between. Once it began to warm up and time to plant crops the calendar was kept. Otherwise, they did not worry about the day and month in the winter. This changed with the 2nd king of Rome Numa Pompilius. He wanted a calendar which included the 12-month lunar cycle. This was added two months after December. The months of January and February were now part of the calendar year. There is more behind it with how the numbers added up mathematically into the year. Numa eventually decided to shorten the month of February.

February 2nd is Groundhog day. It is celebrated locally in our area in Punxsutawney at Gobbler’s knob. Punxsutawney Phil is the world’s most famous groundhog. He is known as Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather-Prophet Extraordinary. Groundhog Day is celebrated every year on February 2. This holiday is a uniquely American tradition that goes back hundreds of years. The most famous tradition today involves Punxsutawney Phil predicting the conclusion of winter depending on if he sees his own shadow. If he sees his shadow, Punxsutawney Phil will retreat for six more weeks of winter. No shadow means there will be an early spring. I am in favor of early spring.

Towards the end of the month, Fat Tuesday is February 21st. Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. It is one last feast before the Lenten fast. Then, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent on February 22nd. It marks the beginning of Lent and is always 46 days before Easter Sunday. Lent is a 40-day season which does not count Sundays. Lent is a time marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The 40-days represents Christ’s time of temptation in the wilderness. You can read about Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness in Matthew 4:1-11. During this time, Christ fasted and was tempted by Satan. During Lent, faithful followers set aside a time each year for similar fasting. This is to mark a planned season of focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection.

Let us turn our hearts towards our Savior, Jesus Christ, during this season of Lent.

Peace and grace to you,

Pastor Chris