There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens.Ecclesiastes 3:1
We’ve heard it over and over again: we are living in unprecedented times. To be sure, the last 12 months have been unlike any that most of us have seen. None of us asked for this season, and yet here we are: weary, heavy-hearted, fearful, ill, angry, and broken.
Lent is a season in which we often turn inward, examine the states of our hearts and souls, and come before God with mournful and contrite spirits. This year, much of that work has already been done. So this Lent, we will prepare for the difficult journey to the cross by examining the wisdom found in Ecclesiastes 3 and drawing close together as we claim a Lent for our time. May we journey well through this season.
February 17 – Ash Wednesday (7:00 pm) Ecumenical Live Streamed Service hosted by Covenant Community Church, details to come.
February 21 – Naming Our Losses
Giving birth and dying; planting and uprooting what was planted (Ecc. 3:2)
Making way for new life to grow often means letting go of the old, including things we ourselves have planted and cherished. Jesus’ ministry began in earnest when that of his dear cousin was coming to an end. This week, we name what has ended during this time of pandemic, give thanks for its past vibrance, and watch for its legacy among signs of new growth.
Gospel: Mark 1:9-15
February 28 – Embracing Sacrifice
Throwing stones and gathering stones; embracing and avoiding embraces (Ecc 3:5)
Never before has “avoiding embrace” taken on such a literal meaning. Yet Jesus tells his disciples that embracing his way will come with its own set of sacrifices. Now well-versed in refraining from physical contact, how has this year prepared us for the sacrifices we are called to make in God’s name?
Gospel: Mark 8:31-38
March 7 – Healing by Rooting Out
Killing and healing, tearing down and building up (Ecc 3:3)
In our time, we are undoubtedly in great need of healing: physically, spiritually, nationally, and globally. As we look to treat not just the symptoms but underlying causes of our dis-ease, Jesus reminds us that there are some things that need to be torn down and cast out before the rebuilding can begin.
Gospel: John 2:13-22
March 14 – Rediscovering Jesus
Searching and losing, keeping and throwing away (Ecc. 3:6)
“God so loved the world…” Thus begins a passage that has been held up as salvation for insiders and judgment for outsiders. As we wrestle with what it means to draw closer together in a time of polarization, it’s worth revisiting our view of Jesus. What views of saving and judgement do we need to hold onto, and which should we throw away?
Gospel: John 3:14-21
March 21 – Facing the Music
Crying and laughing, mourning and dancing (Ecc. 3:4)
As the hour of his death draws near, Jesus has a keen sense of what time it is. Amidst festive crowds, he mourns what he knows will be his last days among friends. Still, he presses on, inviting his disciples to make the most of their remaining time together. As we prepare for future changes, what might God be calling us to now that will be unavailable on the other side of pandemic?
Gospel: John 12: 20-36
March 28 – Palm and Passion Sunday
Tearing and repairing, keeping silent and speaking (Ecc. 3:7)
How easy it is to join in the voice of a crowd! Whether shouting Hosanna or hurling accusations, insisting on one’s righteousness or denying controversial associations, it is safer to speak up when it connects us to the voices around us. As we hear again the events of Jesus’ last week, we consider where speech and silence prove both faithful and fateful at critical moments.
Gospel: Mark chapters 14 & 15
April 1, 2020 – Holy Thursday (7:00 pm)
Loving and hating, war and peace (Ecc. 3:8)
Women in the Word – Wednesdays, 8:00-9:30 am
WitW will be using the devotional, “Pauses for Lent” as a guide through the season. If you’ve been interested in joining the group, now is a great season to begin! Contact Tracie Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the Zoom link and a copy of the devotional.
Study of Ecclesiastes – Thursdays, 7:15-8:30 pm
Join Pastor Jen in reading through the short book of Ecclesiastes as we hold up the questions of our day alongside those of the ancient teacher, Qohelet.
Week 1 (Feb. 18): Ecc. 1 & 2 Introduction: Meet Qohelet
Week 2 (Feb. 25): Ecc. 3 & 4 Time, Trouble and Toil
Week 3: (March 11): Ecc. 5-7 God, Greed and the Good Life
Week 4: (March 18): Ecc. 8-10 Righteousness, Reward and Ramblings
Week 5: (March 25): Ecc. 11 & 12 Conclusion: “Much study is a weakness of the flesh.”