• 3 Carhart Ave.
    White Plains, NY 10605-1495


    Feruary 26, 2024

    Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

    As we have begun our journey in the wilderness during this Lenten season, I share with you the importance of this time in your life and the life and ministry of our congregation and my life personally.

    Every year, I look forward to Ash Wednesday as we begin our penitential season. When I received my calling to St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, I met with one of our parishioners and the individual expressed to me the importance of the gospel reading for that day.

    “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”


    When you give alms do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret. When you pray go into your room shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And whenever you fast put oil on your head and wash your face, for your Father who is in secret to see.

    A time to refresh, reflect, repent, and renew our commitment to follow Jesus. Sharing with those in need the gift of God given for the people of God. Praying for those in need including ourselves. Seeking pardon for our sinfulness and starting a new and clean slate in our relationship with God. Fasting, giving oneself the will and power, the determination to not lose sight delivering us from any form of temptation.

    This season of Lent meets us where we are as a society and a community of faith; individually claiming us as a fragile and yet even broken creation, putting into perspective who we are, to whom we belong, what we have been called to do, and the direction we should follow in the name of Jesus.

    “Guide me ever, great Redeemer, pilgrim through this barren land. I am weak, but you are mighty; hold me with your powerful hand. Bread of heaven, feed me now and evermore.”

    I share with all a verse written by William Williams from the hymn ”Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer”. This hymn calls us to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. As people of “Faith,” our faith is put to the test as we journey in life. We are met with difficult decisions, life-changing experiences, unexpected news, temptations, and loneliness along our journey.  We as individuals are bound to be tempted.

    We as a community of faith will be challenged as our actions may unintentionally want to overcome God’s will and we may individually feel weak and barren in this troubled land.

    God has prepared us for our journey right from the start. God has claimed, gathered, and sent each of us forth into the wilderness equipped with all that we need. Alms to serve, care, and uplift each other; prayer to remain close to God as God is actively present in our lives;  and fasting, trusting that the food on earth is not enough to sustain us without the bread of heaven.

    Let us set forth on our journey in the wilderness throughout these forty days knowing that God is with us. Trusting and believing that God is leading our path as we follow our great redeemer to his final resting place. There, at the final resting place our redeemer, Jesus will extend his arms, endure excruciating pain, sacrifice himself, and show us how much he loves us. Jesus will remain focused on his call and purpose on earth delivering us from every evil.

    The time has come for our redeemer to lead our journey – guide, protect, preserve, provide, and comfort us in the wilderness. Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. Where pain and suffering will be no more as one acknowledges the sinful beings that we are and the loving and compassionate God that forgives us. To God we give all honor and might for as Jesus extends his arms on the cross, we are called to fall into them and be raised with Him into eternal glory.

    A blessed Lenten journey to all. Keep focused on the Old Rugged Cross that will lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

    Yours in Christ,

    Rev. Jonathan J. Recabarren, Pastor