10 February – 24 March 2016
“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves… the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” poet Rainer Maria Rilke
The season of Lent is the build up to Easter. The early Christian church used these weeks to prepare people for baptism. A few centuries later, when more people had been baptised, it was a time for people who had left the church to work towards returning. In the fourth century it became popular for Christians to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem during Lent. Lots of rituals were developed for Lent during this time (like Palm Sunday) to help these pilgrims have a spiritual focus.
It can be easy to forget that the needs and the traditions of the Church change over time. What are your spiritual needs this year? What questions do you have?
We could view Lent as more than just a season, could it be a journey too? And not just any journey, but a journey of renewal? And, what if, on this journey of renewal, we not only ask, but encourage, love, nurture, the questions that are begging to be brought to life in us?
Often Lent has been about “giving up” something, about sacrificing pleasure. In recent years, there’s been a move to “take on” something, usually a new spiritual practice. This Lent … we could make a commitment to clearing some space for God to move in.
Join this online journey as we move toward Easter together. Every couple of days we will have suggestions for spiritual practices and readings to help you connect your life with Jesus’ journey towards the cross. This retreat will run in Lent from the 10 Feb 2016 – 24 March 2016.
To get the most out of this retreat you’ll need to make a commitment to join our facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1698110653809487 and check it at least 3 times a week during Lent. We’ll also be encouraging you to share your thoughts and the photos of things you create during this retreat.
What to expect?
Each week will have a theme and a prayer that you can use or adapt. I’ll also put up Visualise, Opportunity and Connect posts …
Visualise : I’ll provide readings from the bible each week to help us picture Jesus’s journey. Could you read them aloud? Or get someone else to read them to you?
Opportunity : These will be simple but creative ways for you to interact with the bible reading or theme. Sometimes it’ll just be a few questions for you to ponder, other times you might do a prayer doodle or something different. For example, in the first week we will be making a cross out of things we’ll find around our homes and gardens. This cross will be on display during Lent to remind us of the journey we are on.
Connect : These posts will be suggestions to help us engage with and encourage others who are also doing this retreat. In addition there will be ways for us to pray and connect with our local and global communities.
Some things to remember as we travel together …
I’ll try my best to refer to God in a gender neutral way. It can be frustrating when linking to online resources that solely refer to God as He/Father etc – but I’ll do my best. Read more about why Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) chooses to use inclusive language here.
Before the 10th Feb 2016 the facebook group will be ‘open’. However, at the start of Lent I will change the security settings to a ‘closed’ group. This will mean your posts will only show up to the others in the group and not on your public timeline for everyone to see. If there is a post that you really want to share with a wider group of people – please check first with the other people involved in the post to see if they are happy with their thoughts being ‘out there’.
Please invite people you know to join this group. It is open to anyone and is led by (me) Rev Emily Worman who is the pastoral leader of Church in Progress MCC. Church in Progress is committed to creating inclusive spaces for people to connect with God and with one another. This is the first time I have run anything like this – so if you have suggestions, feedback or comments – please get in touch.
Find out more about Church in Progress by visiting their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ChurchinProgress/ and by exploring this website.
Many thanks to Rev Lucy Wormer, John McAlpine (who is allowing us to use the prayers from the book he co-wrote with his wife Jenny Harrison “Our Daily Bread”), Dr Marcia McFee (creator of the Worship Design Studio http://www.worshipdesignstudio.com/), Rev Iain Gow for sharing the wonderful resource “Be Still – A book of prayers, images and blessings” and the MCC Office of Church Life and Health http://mccchurch.org/lenten-worship-resources-2016/ for their encouragement and adaption of their incredible resources.
Also a MASSIVE thank you to my mum, Naomi Lange, for helping me ponder John’s prayers and the scriptures and coming up with themes and creative ways for us to enter into the season of Lent 🙂
Looking forward to sharing the journey with you …