The season of Lent has often been a time when we think about "giving something up”—a holdover from its penitential flavor in the medieval church. But what if we thought less about "giving up" and more about "making room?" This Lent, we will explore what it really costs to be so busy. It’s time to reconnect to an unhurried God.
I invite you to designate a chair in your home that will be your “Prayer Chair” for Lent. Find a time during the day when you can go to the chair for at least 10 minutes, perhaps light a candle, and then spend time in prayer. We have prepared a Daily Lenten Practices booklet for you to use during this time. It is available on the welcome table. If you can’t get to the church building, let us know and we’ll find a way to get one to you. There are also instructions in the booklet for creating a “God Box.” The God Box is a way of handing over the things that we worry (perhaps even obsess) about that are beyond our control. Whenever worries pop up, you are invited to write your worries on bits of paper and put them in your God Box as a sign that you are letting of that which you cannot control. Replace the time spent worrying in your head with speaking the Serenity Prayer by H. Rienhold Neibhur, 20th Century theologian.
As you prepare for worship each week, I invite you to take time to prayerfully consider the scripture texts, comments, and questions below.
March 1, Lent 1: “The Right Tempo”
Jesus said, “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” Matthew 11:28-30. Yet, he never promised that the yoke would literally be "easy." This is a mistranslation. In this context of yoking oxen, the translation means "well fitting." As we begin our "Busy" series, we discover that each of us has a tempo that fits well, that energizes us. What tempo gives you life and energy?
March 8, Lent 2: “Preparing a Table”
The Twenty-third Psalm is a great comfort to us as we imagine the green pastures and still waters. It also recalls the dark valleys and calls us into the not-so-easy practice of sitting down at the table with our enemies. An unhurried God is present with us in the good times and in the difficult time and invites us to be radically present to each other in the same way. Have we been too busy to be really present to one another?
March 15, Lent 3: “Tuning In”
Martha was busy. Mary chose to be still, to tune in to Jesus, Luke 10:38-42. The lesson here is not that it is bad to work, but that we also need times of connection to God. Tuning in to the holy may mean just taking time to notice things that are beckoning to dwell with us a while. What contemplative practices can feed and nourish our active lives?
March 22, Lent 4: “Living Light”
“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be too," Luke 12:29-34. No one, at the end of their life, would say, "I should have spent more time at the office." And yet many of us live with the tyranny of measuring-up that keeps us weighed down. Lightening the load of expectations and "shoulds" is one way to lighten us up, as well as to literally lighten the clutter that crowds out our serenity. How do we create space to flourish in the ways God intends?
I pray this Lent you will find hope, strength, and peace in connection with God.