Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday. Carnival. Shrove Tuesday. Doughnut Day. Pancake Day. The day before Ash Wednesday, today! Tonight the youth will cook and serve us pancakes for supper and Wednesday we break day on the threshold of a journey that begins in the ashes of yesterday.
Welcome to Lent, a forty-day invitation of return, renewal, and remembering. Engaging in a season of Lent can lead us into the heart of God.
As a season of faith, especially in the worshipping life, Lent is an ancient tradition with ever relevant implications. In Lent, we can the weak and the worst of our human selves. New possibilities for how we live easily are crushed under the mark missing of sin. In addition, we miss God’s mark often to protect status, power, and the control of ideals. When we follow Christ all the way to the cross, we confront a littered path of brokenness and a persistent God always seeking new inroads into our lives.
Lent takes us into the “passion narrative” of Jesus.” For six weeks, we are challenged to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and how humans respond to him. It does not get more honest and accepting than Lent, all you need is a humble heart to join the pilgrimage. “God’s purposes will be fulfilled even if it means using human failure and sin; but human failure and sin are not excused, because God uses them in the fulfillment of divine purpose.” Ponder this thought from Fred Craddock, a wise teacher and preacher.
Our forty days of Lent Observance begins tomorrow, Wednesday night at 7:00 in the sanctuary for Ash Wednesday worship.
Fairview will observe a Lenten season focused on the Way of the Cross. Following this way is not a “ten point plan to become a better person.” It is a journey of our crucifixion story is a story of violence and non-violence, the violent response of humans and the steadfast non-
violent, courageous response of Jesus to misunderstanding, fear, power, betrayal, denial, injustice, torture, and the violence of the cross.
The Jesus way of the cross can be called a third way through the struggle toward peace and justice in the hearts, homes, and the communal life of humanity. On Easter Sunday, we will celebrate God’s redemption and resurrection, until then you are invited on a Lenten pilgrimage, a journey of honesty, reflection, repentance, forgiveness, grace, and love in the midst of violence. God wins but it is a hard fought victory.
Each Sunday we will meet at a station along the way to the cross. Fourteen traditional “Stations of the Cross” have been used in Roman Catholic churches for centuries to teach people about the events in Jerusalem that end with Jesus dead on the cross. Our worship will be based on the Scriptural Way of the cross, which follows the scripture account in our four gospels.
Three different resources are available for a Violence/Non-Violence all church emphasis. You are invited to read a book, form or join a study or discussion group. Open yourself to God’s challenge of an abundance life in a time of troubles.
Resources for In-Depth Study:
- Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence; Karen Armstrong (Religious Scholar) – Anchor Books, 2014-2015
Rev Kate will lead a discussion at Hy Vee (West Broadway) on these Thursday evenings:
February 18th, 25th and March 10, 17th. Come for supper and discussion or just discussion at 6:30p.
- Love Beyond Measure: Spirituality of Non-Violence; Mary Lou Knownacki, OSB
Essay and Session Guide,
PDF available at no charge from church office.
Joy Group will be studying the spirituality of non-violence using the resource. It is a study guide with group session outlines. Gather up some church folk or friends for this accessible study.
- Jesus and Non-Violence: A Third Way; Walter Wink (UMC clergy, Theology Professor) – Fortress Press, Facets Book Series, 2003; Six chapters with discussion questions
*Rev Kate has ten copies available at no charge for anyone wanting to engage with this short, readable book. There will be a discussion gathering in the narthex between the worship services starting at 9:45 on Feb 21 for those not currently involved in a Sunday study.