Spirit and Practice
by the Rev. John Leech
Let me be clear: I’m talking about the Holy Spirit and Christian Practice – how do we make real in our lives the truth of our faith? How do we live out the call of conversion?
This Lenten season, between Pancake Tuesday and Easter morning, we are invited, as always, to step back and reflect on our life with God, with each other, and with our selves. Lent is a time, often, of sacrifice: that is, of offering something of our own choosing as a testament and dedication, an instrument, to symbolize our devotion to a holy and spiritual way of being.
Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? So we begin simply, with small practices – omitting something tasty from our diet, trying on a new habit or behavior. It’s almost like a New Year’s resolution – at first.
But this will not satisfy. We’ve got to know there’s more to it.
Lent is a time to lay groundwork, to make preparations, to learn what it is, in a renewing way, to be a Christian. We know – we know, don’t we? – that Easter is coming.
Something new, something unbelievable, is just over the horizon, just beyond our seeing, our field of vision. We live in hope, but we live in the meantime, the not-yet, of expectation.
To make this a season of renewal and not just waiting we take on spiritual practices. These are ways spirit can express itself in activity. Singing, praise, prayer, worship, silence, almsgiving, charitable volunteering – the list of actions we can take personally and together is always growing.
The point is, we are growing too! Growing together in Christ, toward Christ, through and within Christ: that is what Lent is all about. As you decide what to take on or cast off for Lent, give it some prayer: that our Lent together will be one of solemn worship building into joyful celebration.
The greater mystery is ahead: it isn’t the darkness of Lent – it’s the dawning of the new life. What lies beyond Good Friday? What does Easter mean for us? Can we live as resurrection people throughout the year?
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word.
[See elsewhere in this issue for an announcement of Lenten Evening Prayer .]
2013 Lenten Worship Series: Spiritual Practices in Our Lives
Once again we'll be partnering with Edmonds Lutheran Church and Bethel Lutheran Church for our Lenten worship services, but this year's version will have a twist: services will rotate across all three sites. The overall theme for the season is "Spiritual Practices in Our Lives," and each Wednesday's service will focus on a specific theme both in its message and in its worship style.
February 20 7pm at Edmonds Lutheran Church: Listening & Prayer
February 27 7pm at Bethel Lutheran Church: Study & Scripture
March 6 7pm at St. Alban's: Song & Silence
March 13 7pm at Edmonds Lutheran Church: Hospitality & Fellowship
March 20 7pm at Bethel Lutheran Church: Journey & Pilgrimage
Additionally—and regardless of which site is hosting the service—you are always invited to participate in Annie's Kitchen, the weekly community meal at Edmonds Lutheran Church at 5pm before worship.
Edmonds Lutheran Church, 23525 84th Avenue West, Edmonds
Carpooling from St Alban's at 6.30pm.
Click on these links for more insights:
FOR THIS MUCH THANKS
Mona Carter, for editing and producing the Gospel Grapevine, our parish newsletter, since July 2009. John Kistner, for serving as parish Treasurer this past year, and to Morrie Tugby and Penny Curtis, for working with him on the finance committee. To ongoing, outgoing, and continuing vestry members, for their leadership, and our delegates and alternate delegates to diocesan convention, for representing St Alban’s to the wider church. To Lee Forsberg and Jim Nichols for taking the lead on keeping up the church buildings and grounds – and to many hands, including Evie Arneson, Chuck Hagen, Al Walker, and Ron Sodetani, for joining in the work.