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Lenten Contemplations I

One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.Deuteronomy 8:3b, Matthew 4:8

I have to admit that I was pretty nervous about Sunday. While I am reasonably comfortable in doing more of a teaching-style when doing seminars, turning my usual sermon time into a “prayer workshop” is outside my comfort zone. It is in part, expectations. When we come to the sermon, or frankly, any part of worship, we have a certain expectation as to how that might go. I’ll be the first to admit that there is a comfort to this rhythm. Yet Lent is a time where we are supposed to be outside of our comfort zones. When we give up something for Lent as a spiritual practice, it is intended to cause a certain amount of discomfort precisely because the discomfort helps us be more aware of what Jesus gave up on the path to Jerusalem, and the cost of his own life on Good Friday.

So if anything, my Lenten discipline is stepping outside of my own comfort zone when it comes to the sermon, and to introduce different forms and ways to pray. This past Sunday was fairly straightforward, where after an extended preamble I introduced some of the basics of Ignatian Spirituality, with an opportunity to try it as part of the sermon time.

This coming Sunday will be similar, although throughout the service I will be encouraging us to experience prayer through all of our available senses: sight, touch, sound, along with both smell and taste. We celebrate communion, where “taste and see that God is good” is a particularly meaningful and relevant phrase. It is a reminder that we can use all of our senses in our experience of God.

Yours in Christ,

John

Upcoming Events

  • Brenda’s House – March 8, 6:30pm.
    • Our team returns to the monthly Treasure Trunk program at Brenda’s House on Wednesday March 8th. Please pray for our team, as we seek to connect with the families in need and their children.
  • Lenten Service of Communion – Sunday, March 12
    • While we normally celebrate communion on the first Sunday in Lent, we will be observing this meal together on the second.
  • Congregational Membership Classes
    • If you or someone you know would like to formalize membership with St. Matthew’s, I am running personalized membership classes as a way of exploring faith. I am making use of a United Church resource called “Jesus 24/7” which explores our faith using the New Creed that we say every week as a jumping off point. If you are interested, please email me, call me at the church, or speak with me directly on Sunday mornings.

Church Office Hours

  • Due to compassionate leave, Wendy Knudson’s office hours will be limited this week to a handful of hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Sarah Fanning will be taking her office hours during this time: Monday from 11:00am – 3:00pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and will be working Thursday instead of Friday this week.
  • I hold regular office hours this week: Sunday through Thursdays from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Pastoral care visits and community meetings sometimes require that I be out of the office from time to time during those hours.

 

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