This upcoming Wednesday -- Ash Wednesday -- is the beginning of Lent.

But before Lent begins what is known as Fat Tuesday (this coming Tuesday) in some parts of the country is called Shrove Tuesday in our church.  It's a chance for fellowship, evangelism, and good times to which we hope you will invite family, friends, and neighbors.  There will be an Evening Prayer service at 7 PM  followed immediately by a pancake supper cooked by some of the men of the parish. There will also be champagne and soft drinks.  Hope you will be there and also be joining us on Ash Wednesday at either the noon or 7 PM service to start Lent properly.  And also see you this coming Sunday at the 7:45 AM, 9:00 AM, or 11:15 AM service.

The collect tells us that without charity, all is worth nothing. So we are to pray to God to send the Holy Ghost into our spirits to give us the charity of peace & virtues.

The Epistle defines charity as the greatest among the three: hope, faith, and charity. So what is charity? It is agape -- a divine love. Charity is patient, kind, believes, hopes, and endures all things. Charity does not envy; it s not puffed up, is not unseemly, is not easily provoked, and does not rejoice in evil. It is something an adult could understand. When we were kids, we saw only ourselves in relation to others. But as adults, we understand that we are not only ourselves in the relationship but to others as well. So love and charity without kindness is springtime without flowers. They are married in heaven.

In the Gospel reading, we see agape or charity by Jesus & the beggar. Here Jesus took the twelve up to Jerusalem so that what was written by the prophets may come to fruition. Jesus is to be delivered unto the gentiles, mocked, spitefully entreated, and spitted on. They shall scourge Him; they shall put Him to death; and He shall rise again on the third day. The twelve apostles did not know what these meant because these things were hidden from them.

As Jesus is coming near to Jericho, a blind man named Bartimaeus waited for Jesus because the beggar recognized Jesus as a messiah when he called Him “thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” The others rebuked the beggar to his peace. But he cried again the second time. There, Jesus stood and commanded the beggar to be brought to Him. Jesus ask what should I do unto thee? The beggar immediately asked to gain his sight. Here, Jesus showed His charity of healing. And the beggar showed his charity or love by praising & following Jesus up to Jerusalem. The beggar could have just left Jesus after he was healed. Instead he showed his love & charity to Jesus and followed Him.

Now let us compare that with the story of the young rich man in Luke 18:18-30. There, a rich young man called Jesus “Good Master” – a title reserved for God only. And the rich man asks: what shall I do to be saved? Jesus tells him you know the commandments: do not commit adultery, do not kill; do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor thy father & mother. But Jesus does not say do not covet because he knew the rich man coveted and was possessed by wealth. The rich man then says I have kept all these commandments. But Jesus tells him you lack one thing. Sell all, give to the poor, and follow him. The rich man was sorrowful and walked away. He recognized the Messiah, asked all the right questions, and received the right answers. Yet, he simply walked away from Jesus because of Jesus’ answer. The rich had no charity to give to the poor.

If you compare & contrast the two stories, it can be summed up like this: the beggar was blind, had faith, and was healed. He can see both physically & spiritually because of his faith and his charity. The rich man can see physically but he was spiritually blind. He had the faith, but he had no charity for the poor. Nobody is saved by giving all his wealth to the poor. The rich man wasn’t saved because he was rich. He wasn’t saved because he was possessed by wealth. In the Old Testament, there were may who were wealthy and saved. Abraham, David, and Solomon. The lesson in today’s Quinquagesima is that you have a choice – be possessed by the love of wealth & self or be filled with charity of giving of yourself to others & to God Almighty. This is all too familiar with Luke: 1:53, KJV: He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. Do you know who I see as I read this? I see too often – myself.

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

– Fr. Anton

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through
nor steal.
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Sunday Services, 7:45 AM, 9:00 AM, & 11:15 AM (for online participation for the services go to: )

Sunday School, 10:30 AM

Monday, February 20, 7:30 PM, Vestry Meeting, undercroft

Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Evening Prayer Service 7 PM followed by pancake and champagne supper (soft drinks also available)

Ash Wednesday, Noon & 7:00 PM Services including Imposition of Ashes

Fridays during Lent 7:00 PM, Stations of the Cross

Saturday, February 25, 8:30 AM, Men's Group in the undercroft with breakfast by Chef Claude Crump and Bible Study with Bob Boyd. Start the year off right with food, fellowship and Bible study with other men of the parish.
Donations to the Food Bank and Marih Center are greatly needed.  Across the country, crisis pregnancy centers have been attacked or vandalized.   Please help with either a goods donation or a monetary donation.  You can give through the donation button in this newsletter and use the drop down menu to choose "Charity & Mercy."  Please note that the needs list for the Marih Center has been recently updated.  Thank you.
Food Donations 
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar).  Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• jelly
• tuna
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar 
Recently Updated List of Needs for MaRIH Center (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff has been providing help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need.  If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)

Especially Needed
Baby wipes* (an ongoing great need)
Diapers (sizes 1*, 2, 3*, 4, 5*, & 6*)
Diaper rash ointment*
Baby shampoo*
(Bold and  * are a critical need.)

Clothing for boys and girls (0-6 months)
Sleep Sacks: Girls 0-6 mos.
Socks: Boy/Girl 2T
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St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland
1607 Dewitt Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301-1625