Season of Lent
As we journey ever further into this season of Lent, I wonder what God has been teaching you? What have you observed about your own yearnings so far? What discoveries are you making about what you need to do to know about God and to trust God more fully?
Over the past few months, I have been carving out space for the daily spiritual practice of walking with God. I use the time to breathe deeply, to take time for quiet reflection and prayer, and simply to enjoy being with God in nature. The regular rhythm of this practice has been so life-giving. Taking walks, in and of itself, is not a new practice for me, but it is the intentionality in my approach that has been so restorative.
I want to invite each of you into intentional engagement during the final week of Lent, which is, of course, Holy Week. We are preparing several special offerings for Holy Week. The hope is that, as disciples, we can journey with Jesus through the most difficult week of his life. The whole of our faith centers on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We would miss the power of the gospel if we went directly from the “Hosanna’s!” of Palm Sunday to the “Hallelujah’s” of Easter Sunday without experiencing and connecting to all that transpired between those events. But we want to do it in a way that is gentle, thoughtful, and prayerful. And we want to make our offerings accessible to the whole variety of ages and stages of folks in our community.
So, here’s a run-down of what we are planning:
1. Sunday, April 2nd: Palm Sunday is Kid’s First Sunday with communion and lots of special music by our choir. This will be a music-centric, interactive, and engaging service for all ages with the joy of a Fellowship Hour following the worship service.
2. “A Gentle Holy Week”: An Interactive Display. Designed for all ages but with particular focus on telling the story in a way that is appropriate for children, youth, and young families, this 8 stations exhibit is a way to see, hear and interact with the full story of Jesus’ last week, including all that transpired after Palm Sunday and before Easter Sunday. This immersive and interactive display tells the story with words, art, wondering questions, short prayers, and simple activities. We invite the congregation to come experience this display located downstairs. Please invite friends, family and neighbors to come along with you.
“A Gentle Holy Week” Display Hours are:
Following worship on Palm Sunday
April 3rd-5th | noon-3pm
April 6th | noon-3pm | 5:30-8pm
April 7th | 10am-4:30pm
3. Thursday, April 6th: Starting at 6pm, we will share in a special family-friendly Maundy Thursday Potluck & Communion Service in the upstairs Fellowship Hall. We will sit at tables together both for dinner and the communion service and hear a few bible stories about the way that God feeds us.
4. April 7th: Good Friday Service of Silence and Sorrow at 3pm in the upper Fellowship Hall. This service will be in the upstairs Fellowship Hall. The design of the service rests in the belief that in places of sorrow, lament, and grief we meet God differently. In our culture of conflict avoidance, we too often rush through these moments, touching down as lightly as possible as we reach out for the new life offered on Easter Sunday. In doing so, we do not give ourselves a chance to meet the God who sits with us in our sorrow. With this in mind, central to this service is creating a space where people can gather around the cross with as much vulnerability as possible in silence and in sorrow.
5. April 9th: Easter Story Walk & Easter Service. The Easter Story Walk will take place outside, following the sidewalk around the church. Easter eggs will be given out at each stop on the Easter Walk. Come for the story as early at 10:45am. Worship will begin at 11:15am in the sanctuary with pre-service music and activities from 11:00-11:15am.
I hope you will begin thinking about how you want to be intentional in your experience of Holy Week this year.
Leave a Reply.
Rev. Dr. Shannon Smythe
United Presbyterian Church