Ash Wednesday Service with meditation, prayer, ashes, and sacred music. In Fuller Chapel, left front of the sanctuary, February 22, 7:00 pm.
Lenten Book Study
Pastor Wayne Earl will lead discussions based on the new book, God is Here: Reimaging the Divine, by Rabbi Toba Spitzer of Congregation Dorshei Tzedek. This study is open to all. The book can be purchased on Amazon, and is also available at the church for $20.
From the publisher: Toba Spitzer's God Is Here is a transformative exploration of the idea of God, offering new paths to experiencing the realm of the sacred.
Most of us are hungry for a system of meaning to make sense of our lives, yet traditional religion too often leaves those seeking spiritual sustenance unsatisfied. Rabbi Toba Spitzer understands this problem firsthand, and knows that too often it is traditional ideas of the deity―he's too big, too impersonal, and too unbelievable―that get in the way. In God Is Here, Spitzer argues that whether we believe in God or fervently disbelieve, what we are actually disagreeing about is not God at all, but a metaphor of a Big Powerful Person that limits our understanding and our spiritual lives.
Going back to the earliest sources for Judaism as well as Christianity, Spitzer discovers in the Hebrew Bible a rich and varied palette of metaphors for the divine―including Water, Voice, Fire, Rock, Cloud, and even the process of Becoming. She addresses how we can access these ancient metaphors, as well as those drawn from rabbinic tradition and modern science, to experience holiness in our daily lives and to guide us in challenging times. In the section on water, for instance, she looks at the myriad ways water flows through the Biblical stories of the Israelites and emerges as a powerful metaphor for the divine in the Prophets and Psalms. She invites us to explore what it might mean to “drink from God,” or to experience godly justice as something that “rains down” and “flows like a river.”
Each chapter contains insights from the Bible and teachings from Judaism and other spiritual traditions, accompanied by suggestions for practice to bring alive each of the God metaphors. Rabbi Toba Spitzer has helped many people satisfy their spiritual hunger. With God Is Here she will inspire you to find new and perhaps surprising ways of encountering the divine, right where you are.
Tuesdays, 7:00-8:00 pm on Zoom. Get the link from the church office or the Constant Contact newsletter.
February 28 Chapters 1 & 2, God as Metaphor
March 7 Chapters 3, 4 & 5, Water, Place, Voice
March 14 Chapters 6, 7 & 8, Rock, Cloud, Fire
March 21 Chapters 9 & 10, Becoming, Material World
March 28 Rabbi Toba joins us (7:00-8:30 pm)
Lenten Cantata Missa pro defunctis by Johann Caspar Kerll with soloists, choir, and period instruments. Sunday, March 26, during the morning service at 10:00 am.
Palm Sunday, April 2 Morning service with the distribution of palms, 10:00 am.
Maundy Thursday, April 6 Our observance of Jesus' last supper will begin in the evening of Maundy at 6:00pm. We will have communion and then scripture readings and the extinguishing of candles, after which the congregation will silently leave the Hall.
Good Friday, April 7
We will experience a Tenebrae observance in the sanctuary beginning at 7:30 pm, as candles are gradually extinguished in a dramatic ritual memorializing the death of Jesus Christ. Link to texts and translations.
Easter Sunday, April 9 celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 10:00 am. All are invited to join the choir in singing the Halleluiah Chorus from Handel's Messiah at the end of the service. After the service there will be an Easter Egg Hunt outdoors!
From Pastor Wayne: Lent provides the believer with 40 weekdays leading up to the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. These weeks give us time to embrace a deeper practice of introspection and appreciation for personal suffering as well as space to consider the trials of others around us who are in need. As we give up certain freedoms and pleasures, we become more mindful of what others have to do without and we resolve to see how we might provide relief to those among and beyond our communities who need assistance. The Scriptures are full of examples of people who got this right, though sadly, the Bible contains even more stories of others who missed this simple, but profound biblical truth.
Lent has also long been associated with fasting from food (based on the 40 day period that Jesus spent in the wilderness). Of course, doing without certain foods, drinks or practices also reminds us that we can actually live without these pleasures. But the main focus is on how we might allow such deprivation to strengthen our individual and community-wide resolve to be better exemplars of our faith tradition, while showing mercy and bringing physical relief to those who may need it. However, beware: such empathy-soaked disciplines will increase blessings for others and just may cost you more than a little treasured apathy!