Lenten Study and Dinner
February 21st thru March 27th
5 consecutive Wednesdays
BUT the last gathering will be before the service on Maundy Thursday!
Walking in the Wilderness is meant to be a companion for readers’ journey through Lent. It may be studied individually, but Richardson suggests studying the book with a small group or even one other person so readers can give and receive support in their spiritual pilgrimage.
The book includes daily reflections for Ash Wednesday through Easter. Sunday of each week introduces a spiritual practice for the wilderness. The practices for the six Sundays of Lent are Being Present, Lament, Lectio Divina, Trust, Compassion, and Hospitality.
Reprinted from the AUMC Newsletter February 2024
Pastor Michelle’s Article
In the beauty of the Central Coast, it is not surprising that so many of our congregation love spending time in nature, camping, hiking, kayaking, planting and nurturing vegetables and other plants, walking, watching and photographing wildlife – the list of activities goes on. We enjoy the beauty of God’s creation in nature and appreciate being able to put some distance between ourselves and the human-dominated world. We find, as well, that God seems closer, that we are able to experience the presence of God with increased clarity and meaning.
Over the past ten years or so, there have been numerous television shows (with varying degrees of “reality”) about being out in nature in more extreme ways; shows like Alone, Lost, Survivor, the shows with Bear Grylls, and more. In the tv show “Alone”, for example, participants are taken to an isolated wilderness site with a very limited amount of equipment and no supplies. Not only have they come away from the comforts of home and everyday life, they have no other human being to work with, talk to, or depend on in times of challenge and even danger.
Each participant had expertise, experience, and skills to survive, and even thrive, in the wilderness. The most surprisingly significant challenge, they found, was being absolutely alone, without companions of any kind – no family, friends, co-workers. One participant spoke of the necessity of coming “face to face with yourself” in this experience. In many cases, the situation was unbearable, and they “tapped out” and went home.
In the wilderness of Lent, we are following Jesus’ example of his own time in the wilderness (Mark 1:12-13; Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13), when he was tested in unusual and challenging conditions. For forty days (not including Sundays), we are invited to (ad)venture deeper into God’s world. We experiment with living less with the distractions and life-sapping influences of the world in order to practice living more faithfully with the strength and life-giving focus of Jesus Christ.
You are invited to join in our congregational Lenten experience as individuals and in groups. We are using the book “Walking in the Wilderness: Seeking God during Lent” by Beth A. Richardson. I encourage everyone to read the devotions each day throughout Lent. In addition, you are invited to join the Lenten Supper and Small Group on Wednesdays (February 21-March 27) from 5:30-7:00 pm. You can find out more about the book and order it from the publisher (see links on this page)
In Lent, we are challenged, but we are never alone. The wilderness of Lent invites us into experiences that help us discover and live into our connection with God and each other, and that nurture and strengthen those connections. Let us be seekers of God together as we walk in the wilderness.
Grace and peace to you,
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Lenten for Kids
Lent is a meaningful time for reflection and spiritual growth, and incorporating learning activities, stories, and meals for children can make the experience more engaging and memorable.
- Biblical Stories and Lessons:
- We will be shareing age-appropriate biblical stories related to Lent, such as the temptation of Jesus in the desert or the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice.
- Discuss the themes of repentance, forgiveness, and compassion, emphasizing their relevance in daily life.
- Crafts and Art Projects:
- We will have crafting sessions where children can create symbolic art projects related to Lent, such as making prayer beads, creating crosses, or crafting scenes from biblical stories.
- Lenten Calendar:
- We will be creating a Lenten calendar that highlights daily activities, stories, or prayers. This can help children understand the progression of the season and build anticipation for Easter.
- Meals with a Purpose:
- We will be sharing dinner with everyone who is participating in the Lenten Study.