Lent 2018: An Overview of Our Program
Lent is a season of forty days. It commemorates Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness following his baptism. It also invites us to spend about 6 weeks nurturing and expanding our own spiritual awareness. It is an invitation to explore the depths of our own selves and discover the presence and the gifts of God within us. It has traditionally been a time of contemplation—a rather rare reality in the rush and flurry of contemporary life. We invite you to use a variety of experiences to discover what contemplation means for you and how your own spirituality may flourish with a little tender, loving nourishment.
We have picked The Door as the theme metaphor for the season. There are many examples of doors in the New Testament including references to Jesus as the door. We are providing a series of experiences on Wednesday evenings from February 14 (Ash Wednesday) through March 21. In addition to these meetings there will be a service on Maundy Thursday (March 29). We will begin at 6 pm with a light supper and complete the evening program by 8 pm. It is our intention to provide what might be called a spiritual buffet. Each session will feature a different spiritual practice. These are derived from a variety of traditions and are intended to offer you many ways of cultivating your own spiritual life. Some may be of more interest to you than others, but we believe that each and every one of them will stimulate your spiritual growth as you discover what practices (or modifications thereof) seem to work best at nurturing your sense of spirituality. We will have a variety of folks involved in the leadership to offer a variety of styles.
We have also obtained the loan of a wonderful abstract painting by Valerie Allen. This painting will be on display in the Orange Door room in the education hallway. You are invited to stop in, spend a few minutes and Behold the painting. Don’t try to analyze or even describe it. Let yourself Behold it and see what effect it has on you. There will be some more information about the process of Beholding on this blog and also in the Orange Door room. Weekly questions to inspire and assist your efforts to Behold will be available in the Orange Door room beginning the evening of Ash Wednesday, February 14th.
In addition to the weekly sessions, we are opening this blog. Each week following a session, the material from that session will be posted on the blog. This will enable anyone to follow us and for participants to review and reflect about their experiences. We are also inviting participants to share on the blog their own feelings, thoughts and reactions to each week’s undertaking.
Readers of the UCC Lent page are also welcome to comment on new or previous material. Simply locate the, 'Start the discussion' text field on this page to contribute your thoughts. You are welcome to sign into Disqus if you have an account, or login with Google, Facebook, or Twitter. You are also more than able to comment as a guest by checking the, I'd rather post as a guest box. Finally, you can share comments on your favorite social network by clicking the 'share' button. Make sure to return to the page often so you can read others' comments and continue the conversation!
From time to time additional material will be added to the blog to expand your awareness and enhance your own spiritual practices. In this special observance of Lent, we believe that there will be a mutual flourishing of spiritual practices among us which will fortify us for doing the work of Jesus in our world.
Schedule For the Lenten Program
Here's a preview of the 2018 Lenten Program
Wed, February 14
Wed, February 21
Wed, February 28
Wed, March 7
Wed, March 14
Wed, March 21
Thurs, March 29
Sun, April 1
Sun, April 8
Introduction to “Open the Door”
Pilgrimage to Reflection Spaces
Exploration of pain/suffering
Exploration of abandonment
Expressing Divine Love in the world
Post-Easter encounters with Jesus
Beholding Practice in Orange Door Room
COME ‘OPEN THE DOOR’ WITH US!
As we open the Door to our inner life, pain and abandonment are common human experiences. If we focus on opposing and pushing back against these feelings, they assume power over us and restrict our ability to experience the deeper learning they provide. Healing and hope come from allowing ourselves to be with the Now, in all of its messiness. However, holding yourself with tenderness allows the wound to be portal of transformation. Here is a spiritual practice that can help navigate these difficult moments:
Think of a situation in your life that is difficult, that is causing you stress.
Call the situation to mind and see if you can actually feel the stress and
emotional discomfort in the body.
Breathe deeply, in and out, as you get in touch with these bodily feelings.
Speak these words to yourself, out loud or silently, in a warm and caring
tone: This is moment of pain. I am having a really tough time right now. This hurts.
Put both hands on your heart, pause, and feel their warmth. You can also
put your hand anyplace on your body that is soothing and comforting, like
your face or belly.
Speak these words to yourself, out loud or silently:
Pain is a part of life. Everyone feels this way sometime. This is
part of being human. I am not alone.
Breathe deeply, in and out.
Speak these words to yourself, out loud or silently:
May I give myself the compassion I need.
May I learn to accept myself as I am.
May I be kind to myself in this moment.
May I be strong and patient.
May I forgive myself.
(You can also ask yourself, “What do I need to hear right now to express
kindness to myself?”)
Rest in silence for a few minutes.
Lenten materials downloads