With the start of the season of Lent, combined with the decline of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in our area, God is giving us a blessed opportunity over these forty days to experience a restoration to health in the fullest sense. Healing of our sin. Healing of our church community. Healing of our bodies, minds, and spirits. Healing of our relationships with God and with one another.
Following Ash Wednesday worship at noon and 7pm on March 2nd, when our foreheads are marked with ash in the sign of the cross, we will continue to gather on the succeeding five Wednesday evenings at 7pm for a simple half-hour liturgy called “Healer of Our Every Ill.” Those who wish will have a chance to come forward for prayer with laying on of hands and anointing with oil—in that very same sign of the cross—now as a sign of healing in Jesus Christ. If you haven’t gotten to kneel at the altar rail for, oh, thirty years or so, this is your big chance! This service also features easy to sing, contemplative songs and the prayer-act of candle lighting.
And you know what else is restorative at the end of winter, after two years of pandemic? Hot Soup. That’s right, Lenten Soup Suppers are back, each Wednesday in Lent (including Ash Wednesday) starting at 5:00pm. Our approach will be a little different than in the past with different church groups taking turns hosting, so bear with us as we make a fairly quick pivot to sharing food again in a fellowship hall like normal Lutherans. As always though, the simplicity of the menu is intended to remind us of those who have too little to eat, and so inspire compassionate action. Your purchase of soup will also enable our youth to meet the cost of partaking in camp ministries this summer.
Finally, one more ingredient to Wednesday nights will be a
chance to gather with others after worship to talk about the
book Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone, our 2022 Lent
“Good Read.” (More info below) If prayer doesn’t come easily for
you but you’d like to grow in intimacy with God, this book may
be right on time for you. Read it on your own or come alongside
some other seekers, including me! (No, I don’t have it all down yet.)
Here’s an encouraging quote from author Fr. James Martin:
“Your desire to pray is a sign that God desires you. It’s an
indication God is calling you. And that is perhaps the most
important reason to pray. Not simply because you desire it,
but because the desire is a sign of something else.
You desire to pray because God desires it.”
About "Learning to Pray" and Wed. Night Discussion Group(s)
This book is written in a generous and simple style and is intended for everyone from people who have never prayed to those who pray sporadically with difficulty to those who pray regularly but would like to explore a wider range of prayer forms.
You can read on your own, and use the schedule below to finish the book during Lent. As an option, you can also gather with others in a small group setting on five Wednesday evenings in the Chapel after midweek Lent worship at about 7:35pm. For 45 minutes or so, group members will get to share their favorite insights from the book and what they are experiencing in their relationship with God through the methods of prayer described in the book. Since prayer is deeply personal, we will mostly use this time to tell and talk rather than try to run "lab tests" on these prayer forms as a group.
Books are for sale in our Gathering Area for $15 (also available online for Kindle). Questions or to indicate you're coming for the group discussion, contact Pastor Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Recommended Reading Schedule
Mar. 2 (Ash Wednesday): Get your book if you still need it. Small group participants' brief huddle at 8pm to get organized.
Mar. 9: Ch. 1-6 (pp. 1-87)
Mar. 16: Ch. 7-9 (pp. 88-164)
Mar. 23: Ch. 10-11 (pp.165-237)
Mar. 30: Ch. 12-15 (pp. 238-302)
Apr. 6: Ch. 16-18 (pp. 303-364)