Our Lenten Prayer

Dear companions on the journey:

Following the outstanding Green Chautauqua event featuring the Valve Turners on January 14, a woman from the neighborhood came up to me and asked, “But how do we stay hopeful?”

Her question echoed our worship planning team when we gathered to plan the season of Lent. We talked about how our hearts are breaking from the violence and cynicism in our culture. How we long for peace — both personal and global. How we see a need for healing in our national political scene, as well as for the planet. We talked about how we long to feel God’s presence when life is hard. We long for God to empower and equip us for the journey, but we don’t necessarily know how that might happen. The phrase that came to one of us at the planning meeting is the title of a familiar hymn: “Breathe on Me, Breath of God.” The first verse of the hymn speaks poignantly of
the longings of many of us:

Breathe on me, breath of God.
Fill me with life anew
That I may love what thou dost love,
And do what thou wouldst do.

Does this strike a chord with you? Do you long for a sense of God’s presence, of God’s encouragement, of God’s hope?

Lent is the season when we are invited to devote 6 weeks — one tenth or a tithe of the year — to recovering, remembering, and practicing the presence of God. This Lent, we are designing our worship services around practices that restore and equip us for the journey, that help us encounter God in ourselves, others, nature and the world around us, and that help sustain us and give us hope.

We’ll get a head start on Transfiguration Sunday, the Sunday before Lent, when we will look at the simple practice of paying attention. Other Sundays will focus on the practices of prayer, lament, experiencing nature, story, and journeys.

In addition, we’ll off er some opportunities outside of worship to learn and practice spiritual practices. People are diff erent, and diff erent spiritual practices work for diff erent people. Lent will be an opportunity to try a few things to see what fits you.

In February, in fact on the first Sunday in Lent, we also begin designating one Sunday a month as Family Sunday, when the Sermon from the Steps will be the primary proclamation of the Word, and all worshipers will be invited to do something that’s child-friendly: perhaps a craft, perhaps some movement, and youthful songs.

Join me in the Lenten prayer: “Breathe on me, breath of God.”

Together we serve,

1 Comment

  1. Mary Ilyin

    Sat 27th Jan 2018 at 11:26 am

    Dear Joanne,
    I can hardly wait for what is planned for this year’s Lenten season.
    Thanks, and God Bless you.


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