The Seasons of Lent
The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, March 6th. This year we will, however, begin our Lent worship series on March 3rd, the Sunday before, including reception of ashes, since we will not have a service on Wednesday.
Our theme for Lent is “Busy: Reconnecting with an Unhurried God.” It is the first half of an over-arching theme for Lent and Easter of “Building a Container for Hope”.
In this 21st century world, many of us have come to believe, however subconsciously, that being “busy” is what is required of us and ultimately what makes us a good person. But perhaps we’ve forgotten that God isn’t looking for humans to “perform” as if we must earn God’s love (or anyone’s love) through succumbing to a faster pace for more productivity in order to be “worthy.” How can we be “simply and honestly” present in this Lent season?
The theme draws on the need for self-care in order to continue our work of caring for others. It addresses the growing intensity and frenetic pace of life. The series will invite you to practices of making room, clearing out, slowing down, and prioritizing for the sake of holistic lives. “This holistic life involves living with the rhythms that allow us to thrive, finding a balance between work, play, rest, and reflection. Jesus calls his followers to more than just unbridled consumption or production. Rather, the Scriptures see our lives and bodies as gifts that should be nurtured.”
Fasting is an ancient practice for many traditions, and in the Christian tradition it became especially associated with the time of Lent as a way of having a more focused prayer life. Over time, giving something up during Lent gained the notion that we were doing this as some sort of punishment, but if we go back to the deeper sense of the purpose of fasting, it is simply to make more room in our lives for God
And so for this Lent, we are going to make more room by letting go of the hurry that threatens to suck the joy out our of our lives and the kind of worry that is a misguided need to control outcomes, which of course, we cannot do. We’ll have practices of slowing down – you are invited to find a chair at home that can be your “Prayer Chair,” and we will have a Devotional booklet with prayers for each week for that time at home.
For fasting from worry, we are going to use what we’re calling a “God Box.” You are invited, throughout the days and weeks of Lent, to write on slips of paper the things you worry most about. Then put that paper in your individual God Box or the one at church, as a sign that you are letting go of that which you cannot control into the care of God.
This Lent let’s find those places and moments that no matter how fleeting bid us “come and find a quiet center.”
Blessing for the Unhurried Life
May this journey change your way
of thinking and being.
May this journey open you to more loving,
more living, and more thriving.
May you know deeply that there is time enough
for you, for your relationships, for your work, AND for prayer.
And may you be re-acquainted each day
with an unhurried God
who is calling you to dive deeply into love.
Possible activities you can do to enhance your Lenten experience:
Write down things that you could do any day that would go with this theme of self-care. You’ll need 46 total ideas to make a calendar that goes from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Create a calendar (like an Advent calendar) that you can keep in your day planner, hang on your wall, or on your refrigerator with a magnet. Some examples could be:
- Close your eyes and imagine your favorite nature scene.
- Place your hands on your face and thank God for making your precious face.
- Spend 5 minutes with our eyes shut.
Decorate “Cell Phone Sleeping Bags”
Use fabric markers to decorate small cloth bags with inspirational quotes or affirmations for taking regularly-scheduled digital detox time. You could also use a paper bag, not clear plastic because it should be something that “hides” your phone.
Decorate a “God Box”
Use a shoe box or other small box to decorate and put the Serenity Prayer on it; use throughout the season.
Create your own “Sabbath Manifesto”
Using the “Sabbath Manifesto” from the National Day of Unplugging resources (that is included with the Lenten Devotional booklet) and adapt it to reflect what your own goals will be to make more room for what is important during Lent.
PUMC Vision Statement
- We Connect the spiritual with the reality of the world.
- We provide a sanctuary of peace, compassion, and love.
- We work together to make a positive difference in people’s lives.