Thursday, March 3, 2011

What is happening in Lent


Lent. The Forty Days that start on Ash Wednesday and end on Easter, if you do not count Sundays because they are always a day of resurrection. The word “lent” started to be used in the Middle Ages and comes from the German/Dutch word for “spring” that signifies that days are getting longer.

In Christian usage, Lent is our time to prepare by self examination and spiritual disciplines for Easter's Resurrection. What people usually notice is that we use the color purple, do more confessing, and do not say “Alleluia”. And we hear about people 'giving up' something as a part of their preparation and spiritual discipline.

The goal of study, disciplines, and spirituality is not an end in itself. These are all meant to bring us closer to God, which is not an end in itself. Being closer to God gives us clarity of mission, strength to do it, and a reminder of why we act and live as we do. That is, all of this is for God's sake.
We will use “Centering Music” to lead us into worship. We will remember that “trespasses” is really an image for “sin”.

Sermons during Lent will spring from the Book “Saving Jesus From the Church” by Robin Meyers. Brown Bag studied it and recommend it for its challenge to look at the Church and who we say Jesus is. You can buy the book from your favorite bookseller,or ask if Brown Bag has a loaner. You do not need the book.

The chapter/sermon schedule will be:
6 Jesus the Teacher, Not the Savior

13 Discipleship as Obedience, Not Observance
20 Original Blessing, Not Original Sin
27 Faith as being or Christianity as Compassion
3 Justice as Covenant, Not Control

10 Religion as Relationship, Not Righteousness
17 The Cross as Futility,Not Forgiveness
24 Easter as Presence, Not Proof
May 1
Prosperity as Dangerous,Not Divine

Please note, the first and last in this series do not fall in Lent, but express the abundance of ideas that needs more than Lent to explore. Our cup overflows.

Join the Youth Group for
Sunday, March 27th

On Sunday, March 27th , the Youth Group will lead the 10 am worship service! They will preach, pray, sing, and share their insights about faith with us!

Please join us to praise God and support the youth of Bethany Church!

Ash Wednesday
Lent begins on March 9th with Ash Wednesday. The disposition of Ashes, putting an smudge of ashes, is a sign of humility and repentance. The old is burned up and we are ready to rise out of the ash, still marked by them, to take a different road to God.

Ash Wednesday Services will be at 7am and 6:30pm. These services will be 25 minutes and in the chapel. Ashes are always optional.

The Working Chapel will be available all day for those who wish to honor the day at another time or by their self. The center of the Labyrinth will have ashes for those who wish to use this ancient sign and symbol.

Lenten Study

On four Tuesdays in Lent we will use a brand new book to grow our journey with God. Written by Brian McLaren, “Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words” will look at his four-stage framework for understanding the spiritual life. McLaren is very clear writer who pulls in history and tradition to clarify where the path for the journey of faith is in our day.

We will explore each of these stages and the associated practice starting on March 22 and continuing on the 29, April 5 and 12. Each practice centers on a single, simple word. Come and learn from the words: here, thanks, O, sorry, help, please, when, no, why, behold, yes, and silence.

If you want to buy a book at a discounted price of $15, you must have money and order in on March 13. The book is not available until the 15th but can be picked up from Rev. Mark starting that night. We will only buy books that are ordered, no spare copies. You may also buy one from your favorite bookseller.

Sermon Talk Backs

Clearly the ideas in this book and sermons will be provocative. Revs. Mark and Amy will host 5 Sermon Talk Backs during Lent. Come with questions, observations, challenges, or a listening ear. You can also come with a bag lunch. We will meet from 11:30-12:45 in Fellowship Hall. The dates for these Sermon Talk Backs are: March 13, 20 and April 3, 10, 17.