Our Quest for Faithful Presence
Dear St Luke’s,
And so, our Lenten journey begins… as this Sunday is the first Sunday of Lent, you will notice a few changes with the season. The Altar Guild has switched the colors to purple, there are a number of changes to our order of worship, but the changes I’m most excited to draw your attention to have to do more prayer options being made available during our time around the Lord’s Table.
Beginning this Sunday, after you receive communion you are welcome to pause and kneel at the altar for a moment personal prayer. If you choose to use this moment it is simply an opportunity for you to intentionally slow down. You can use the space to reflect, to pray, to hold gratitude, or to simply be still in the presence of God and your community of faith.
Secondly, we are creating station for conversational prayer. Also, available during communion… an Elder of our community, a member of our community care team, or our prayer team will be available to pray with you, for you, or simply alongside you.
The conversational prayer station is near the big banner opposite the Witness Windows. As a faith community we are always seeking ways to join one another. This is another way to join together in Christ. Into most of our lives come moments when someone or something weighs heavily on our hearts, minds or bodies. In those periods its sometimes reassuring when someone prays with us. Other times we don’t have words for what we’re feeling and we might benefit from someone praying for us. And then moments when we just need some to come alongside us so we can be reminded that we are not alone. Honestly… You don’t even need a “thing”! Some Sunday if you just feel like you would like to be prayed for that is great! Count us in, swing by and have a seat. So, beginning this Sunday our conversational prayer station comes available.
These opportunities for personal prayer at the altar or conversational prayer at the prayer station are entirely optional. It is totally fine to receive communion and return to your seat. As always trust your heart, and do what feels most lifegiving. We are a spiritual family of choice, and you have total freedom to participate or not – in kneeling, in receiving prayer, in receiving communion, in giving, in singing, or engaging in readings – we never want anyone to feel pressured to say, give, or sing anything that doesn’t feel right to them. So please know that when you feel like, “I just can’t sing/give/say such-and-such today” please don’t. You’re not alone. I think most of us feel that way from time-to-time. We aspire to be a judgement free community. We’re just so glad you’re here.
Since we’re talking about prayer, just a reminder that in our pews there are prayer cards which you are always welcome to fill out and drop into the offering plate. Those requests are collected, and each request is prayed over. Also, you are welcome to contact our church’s office and ask for a prayer request to go out to our prayer team or even to be printed in our community prayer requests. Two final prayer resources I’ll highlight for now. One, ask (or offer) a friend or a family member for prayer. We all have varying levels of comfort with prayer, but reaching out to someone who cares can often deepen your interpersonal connection, strengthen our community, and nurture our connection with God.
Finally, you can pray. Whatever thoughts or feelings you are holding, you can invite the Spirit of God to join you in holding them. Or you simply tell God what you are feeling. There is no “right” way to do this, and there is no “wrong” way. Your relationship with the Divine is yours alone. Sometimes I literally sit down and imagine God sitting with me in the next chair and I tell God what’s up. Other times I write my prayers in my journal. Most often though, it when I grow in awareness that I am worrying, or sad, or nervous, or grateful, , or happy, or content, or whatever that I simply invite God to be with me in that feeling and to help me move toward love through whatever I’m feeling.
On a separate note; this weekend we will the second session of our current three-week Community Forum series. The series is titled, Church Refugees: Listening with & Learning from the ‘Nones’ and ‘Dones’. Community Forums last about an hour and start after morning worship.
Last Week – 2/19: Who are the ‘Nones’ & ‘Dones’
This Sunday – 2/26: Why are the ‘Nones’ & ‘Dones’ Leaving Church
Next Weekend – 3/5: How can we Listen to, and Learn with the ‘Nones’ & ‘Dones’
Always remember my friend, you are beloved, you are not alone, and you belong.