Our Quest for Faithful Presence
Dear St Luke’s,
I heard glowing reports about last weekend with Pastor Mark and the Griffith family. BTW, Pastor Mark and I are hoping to co-preside sometime in March… that will be fun!
As you may know this weekend is Transfiguration Sunday. Jesus’ transfiguration is a unique and mystical part of Christ’s story, and its sign indicating that Lent is about to begin.
Lent is a season of about 40 days of journeying with Jesus to the cross; culminating with the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. It is a season of collective opening to the sufferings of others, feeling with, lamenting together, so that no one suffers alone. As a faith community we use those days to intentionally open our hearts to grow in awareness of human suffering. Lent begins on Wednesday.
February 22 is “Ash Wednesday.” Over time this practice of having an ash cross imposed on one’s forehead emerged as a way for Jesus’ followers to personally identify with Christ’s journey while marking the beginning of an intentional spiritual practice that might foster solidarity in suffering.
Sometimes during this season people choose to give-up doing something they enjoy, in order to grow in solidarity with those who don’t have enough. Other times people choose to intentionally engage in a practice that might open their hearts and lives. Below is a list of a few Lenten resources I invite you to consider, (please, note that they are from a variety of Christian traditions; some are for sale and other are free):
- A Lenten Journey with Ableism – Disabling Lent: An Anti-Ableist Lenten Devotional.
- A Lenten Journey with Racism – An American Lament: Devotional.
- A Lenten Journey with our LGBTQAI+ siblings – Ashes to Rainbows: A Queer Lenten Devotional.
- A Lenten Journey with Justice – Unsettling Lent: A Devotional, (this is what I’m using this year).
- A Lenten Journey with the Environment – Creation Care: A Lenten Devotional Guide.
- A Lenten Journey with Luther Seminary – God Loved the World.
- A Lenten Journey with the ELCA – Forty Days of Giving.
Please don’t feel any pressure to engage in any of these practices. No one has to do anything. We know that the practices we regularly engage have a powerful formational effect on our lives… for good or ill. As a community of faith, part of what we seek to do is support one another as we grow and become, and these traditions of Lenten engagement are something our ancestors found helpful in their faith journeys. If you would like help finding a resource or growing in a certain realm of life, ask a friend for recommendations, there is wisdom in community.
On a separate note; beginning this weekend we will be starting a new three-week Community Forum series. The new series is titled, Church Refugees: Listening with & Learning from the ‘Nones’ and ‘Dones’. Community Forums last about an hour and start after morning worship.
- Session One – 2/19: Who are the ‘Nones’ & ‘Dones’
- Session Two – 2/26: Why are the ‘Nones’ & ‘Dones’ Leaving Church
- Session Three – 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.