Not long ago, a group of people gathered around a table and reflected on the role Lent plays in their lives. For some people, Lent is a season marked by abstinence from chocolate or fine red wine or shopping sprees. For others, Lent is a time for prayer and service. But for the people who gathered around that table in the library at St. Michael's, Lent is a time to go deeper-deeper in prayer, deeper in reflection, deeper in relationship with fellow travelers on the journey with God, and deeper in relationship with God. This year, our Live at Five Governing Group has decided that our Lenten Focus will be "Digging Deep."
You will see us digging deep in worship in the silences that will surround the readings, the prayers and the homily. You'll hear this meditative approach to worship resonating in the music we sing and the chords played on the guitars. One way you might dig deep in worship is to read the scripture assigned for the day before you come to church. (You can find the assigned readings by googling "The Lectionary Page" or by checking St. Michael's weekly e-Noticias.) I find that if I let the words of scripture simmer on the back burner of my mind, they tend to echo in my life and in the world in which we all live. What if we all began our Sunday worship on Monday morning by reading and praying the lessons for the following Sunday?
Another opportunity for Digging Deep this Lenten season is our weekly offering of praying the rosary together. Every Sunday during Lent those interested in praying the rosary in community will gather in the Narthex at 4:30 pm. Sometimes the prayer will be in English, sometimes in Spanish and sometimes in a little of both.
If reading is a way you dig deeper, you may decide to join other members of the Live at Five community in reading Thich Nhat Hanh's Be Free Where You Are. Each week, we'll read a few short chapters (most chapters are only a few pages and the pages are very small) and after worship we pull up some chairs and share our responses to the reading. We'll have books available for purchase every Sunday (for $8.08) or you can order the Kindle version from Amazon.
Not long ago, I ran across a Lenten practice I found intriguing. It comes from the blog "Praying in Color" (http://prayingincolor.com/lenten-calendar-templates-for-2015). Blogger Sybil Macbeth suggests,
I love using a calendar template for Lent because it gives me a one-day-at-a-time, concrete, manageable way to have a daily practice for the 40 (or 46) days before Easter.
Here are some ways to use the calendar:
1) Pray for someone each day. Write a name, doodle around it, pray with words or in silence as you draw.
2) Choose a word from the Daily Lectionary or other reading and write it in the space for the day. Pray the word. Meditate on it. Spend time with it as you draw. Let it tell you about itself. Let God reveal something new to you about the word.
3) Write a word you associate with Lent-sin, forgiveness, journey, palms, Jesus, salvation, crucifixion,.... Meditate on it. Spend time with it as you draw. Listen to what the what can tell you about itself. Let God reveal something new to you about the word.
4) Just doodle or draw in the space without words. Keep silence and listen for the "still small voice of God."
5) Write one of the different names for God each day and pray/meditate on the name.
If you want to make a Lenten calendar, you can find templates at the site listed above.
For over a year, our governing group has been searching for ways that we, as a community, might get to know one another more deeply. Beginning with our potluck on Sunday, February 22, we'll have table questions for folks to explore as we eat. We won't spend long on them and they won't be difficult questions, but they will offer a path for us to dig deeper into our shared life of faith.
In gratitude for our shared journey,