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April 2020


Dear Partners in Ministry,


Jesus went to the Jordan River to be baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist.  At the sight of Jesus, John states that he must now decrease so that Jesus can increase.  Immediately, Jesus goes into the wilderness for forty days.  Sound familiar?  We begin our forty-day observance of Lent with Ash Wednesday.  We are reminded of our mortality; “You are dust and to dust you shall return.”


We have been studying excerpts from the book, Words Around The Fire, by Gail Ramshaw, to deepen our understanding of the Easter Vigil.  This service occurs the day after Good Friday and begins in the evening, usually outdoors, with a fire.  This new fire lights our Pascal Candles that will be the first light walked into our eleven dark sanctuaries.  Sitting in the pit of death and despair is almost over! But wait, we need to revisit how we got here.  Once again, we hear the Creation story, The Flood story, and the Red Sea story.  We recall how water is used in creation, destruction, renewal and deliverance.  We move from depths of water to the worthlessness of dry bones on the ground.  With a little bit of prophecy, the bones transform to living, worshipping beings once again.  The story of Jonah reminds us all that you can try to run, but you will never hide from the will of God. The Fiery Furnace speaks to us once again, explaining that God will help each one of us overcome even the most impossible of situations, no matter how much the heat gets turned up!


The Easter Vigil is an opportunity for all of us to renew our Holy Baptism. With water and the Word, we are family, we are forgiven, and salvation is ours!  Holy Communion is our family dinner that includes the presence of Jesus.  How do we know that?  Because HE said so!  This meal is just a little taste of what is in store for all of us!


My greatest hope for all of you is that you truly experience a Blessed Easter! Bring out the Alleluias, the white and gold decorations, and the flowers!  Come into your beloved worship space and sing, “Thine is the Glory” with your siblings, as we stand with Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb, and encounter that gardener, who is really our risen Jesus!




Vicar Mandy Gilberti




Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110        412-466-7773