Inward and Personal Disciplines

___ Spend time in solitude each day.
___ Share in the Lenten Service on Wednesday evenings.
___ Read a book for inner growth.
___ Focus on thanksgiving, rather than on asking, in prayer.
___ Make a list of people with whom I need to be reconciled.
Pray for them and let Jesus guide me in my thinking and feeling toward them.
___ Take control of my life by ______________.
___ Go to all of the Holy Week services as an act of love and waiting with Jesus.
___ Take one hour to inventory my priorities and plan how I will reorder them.
___ Give up a grudge or a rehearsal of a past event.
___ Forgive someone who has hurt me.

Outward and Social Disciplines

___ Take on some loving task:
___ Plan to visit a "shut-in" neighbor or church member weekly.
___ Write a letter of affirmation once a week to a person who has touched my life.
__ Listen and respond to Christ's call to a ministry of service:
___ Go to coffee or dinner with someone I want to know better.
___ Give blood and recall the cross.
___ Say "NO" to something that is a waste of money and time.
___ Pray to God to help me resist racial prejudice and to give me courage in opposing it.
___ Rebuke the spirit of criticism and my own tongue out of control.
Living Lent
~ MARCH 6 - APRIL 20, 2019 ~
Lent is a season of looking within oneself.
It is a time for soul searching and dedicating ourselves to the service of the Lord.

Lent is the 40-day period preceding Easter beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday.  
The word Lent comes from the middle English word "lente" which means springtime.  
Lent is the springtime of the church's year.  

It is a season of renewal as we are called to repentance and reflection on Chris's death and resurrection
in order that we might live more fully as redeemed people.   It is a time to return to the heart - to find
out who we are before God and live from that identity.  
The hope is that you will experience inner change and renewal.

Lent is about facing-up to ourselves, about recognizing our flawed and disordered nature for what it is.
Lent means that the buck stops here.  Lent means admitting our need for God's forgiveness and strength,
and admitting the poverty of what we can achieve without it.  The traditional Lenten disciplines of
prayer, fasting and almsgiving are a chance to explore and address this need.
Prayer is communication with God.  Prayer includes listening, discussion, and giving thanks -- not just
asking for things. There are three reasons to pray: for God's benefit, for your benefit, and for the
benefit of others.

Fasting is more profound than giving up a favorite food.   Fasting means facing your addictions, and
admitting them, and trying to live free of them.  For some it's food for comfort, but if your attitude to
food is normal and healthy, perhaps your fasting should take a different turn.  Try media fasting -
switching off the television.  Or try to shop less.  Or try to get out of your comfortable home and
routine and circle of familiar faces to do something different, like joining our Wednesday night Soup &
Lenten Service, attending services on Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Almsgiving is tied closely with fasting.  Whatever we give up, the money we save should go to the needy.  
It should be given away to the missions, the Church, or a worthy charity.  It helps to make this a visual
practice by, for example, having a jar or box in the center of the table as a reminder and measure of
progress.

It is also considered "
almsgiving" to give one's time and goods to those who are in need, i.e., donating
time for a soup kitchen, giving clothes to charity, visiting the shut-ins, driving those without
transportation and other similar practices.
Connecting Worship and Daily Living in Lent

The Sundays of Lent are not part of the forty days of Lent and so remain "little Easters," as are all
Sundays.  Fasting and giving up something can be part of Lenten disciplines, but so can taking on some
things.  Lent is a time to prepare for Easter.  It is a necessary prelude. The death and resurrection of
Christ are true whether or not  you prepare for Easter.  However, without your heart and life being
ready, you may not experience the depth and power of Christ's death and resurrection. You are invited
to take an inward and outward journey.  
With the aid of the list below, make commitments to discipline and growth for the next six weeks:
Reflections for Lent

Am I sharing  gladly what I have with others, especially the stranger and the poor?

Do I have a gracious and patient attitude with others, especially those who irritate me?

How is my devotional and prayer life progressing?
Am I listening to God more and complaining less?
Is it time for a change or a growth in my Bible study and prayer life?

What are the lurking sin problems, which still plague me?

Am I as thoughtful and forgiving of family as others, or do I take my frustrations out on them?
Ash Wednesday

The imposition of ashes on the foreheads of Christians is an ancient Christian practice, going back at
least to the 10th century.  Biblically, ashes are a symbols of purification and penitence.

In the early church, people who had been separated from the church because of serious sins might
seek to be re-admitted to the fellowship by observing a formal period of penitence during Lent.  
These people were generally sprinkled with ashes or given rough garments sprinkled with ashes as a
sign of their sorrow for their sins.

Beginning in the tenth century, the observance of Ash Wednesday became a general rite for the
church.  The ashes, which were a symbol of purification in the Old Testament, remind us that we are
mortal.  The ashes are made by burning the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday.  Ashes are
placed on the forehead, usually in the sign of a cross, in a ritual known as the Imposition of Ashes.  As
the ashes are placed on the forehead, words such as these are spoken: "Remember that you are dust
and to dust you shall return," recalling God's words to Adam in Genesis 3:19.    
Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter.  Christians remember it as the day of the Last
Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and established the ceremony known as the
Eucharist.  The night of Maundy Thursday is the night on which Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the
Garden of Gethsemane.

The word "maundy" comes from the command given by Christ at the Last Supper,
that we should love one another.

John 13:34-35
"A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another."
Good Friday

What a supreme paradox.  We now call the day Jesus was crucified, Good.

Many believe this name simply evolved - as language does.  They point to the earlier designation,
"God's Friday," as its root. (This seems a reasonable conjecture, given that "goodbye" evolved from
"God be with you.")

Whatever its origin, the current name of this holy day offers a fitting lesson to those of us who
assume (as is easy to do) that "good" must mean "happy." We find it hard to imagine a day marked by
sadness as a good day.

Yet, despite - indeed because of - its sadness, Good Friday is truly good.  It is 'good' because the
barrier of sin was broken.  Its sorrow is a godly sorrow.

This commemoration of Christ's death reminds us of the human sin that caused this death.  And we
see again that salvation comes only through godly sorrow - both God's and, in repentance, ours.  To
pursue happiness, we must first experience sorrow.  He who goes forth sowing tears returns in
joy.                                                                        

At the same time, of course, Good Friday recalls for us the greatness and wonder of God's love -
that He should submit to death for us.

The Tenebrae, or Service of Darkness, in which candles and lights are gradually extinguished until
the congregation sits in complete darkness -a representation of the darkness that covered the
earth at the death of Jesus .

Mark 15:33
At the sixth hour darkness came over
the whole land until the ninth hour.
Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday begins the Holy week leading to Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
dead. This Sunday observes the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem that was marked by the
crowds, who were in Jerusalem for Passover, waving palm branches and proclaiming him as the
messianic king.  The Gospels tell us that Jesus rode into the city on a donkey, enacting the prophecy
of Zechariah 9:9, and in so doing emphasized the humility that was to characterize the Kingdom he
proclaimed.

Zechariah 9:9
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle
and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.


This Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday to commemorate the beginning of Holy Week and
Jesus= final agonizing journey to the cross. The English word passion comes from a Latin word that
means "to suffer".
Easter Sunday

It is the day we celebrate that our King, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, rose from the grave.  It
signifies our salvation.   Jesus was born for this one purpose..... He died and rose again to be the
perfect sacrifice, and He did it all just for us.  God, the father  felt that we, mankind were
important enough for Him to send His son to die for our sinful ways.  In John 3:16, it states it very
clearly "For God so loved the world (us) that He gave His one and only Son (Jesus), that whoever
believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life."  It goes on to say in John 3:17, "For God did
not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him (Jesus)."

Easter Lily - The lily begins life as a brown dead-looking bulb that we plant in the ground.  In the
spring a green shoot bursts from the bulb and pushes its way upward through the ground and
continues to grow. Finally, a beautiful white flower blooms on the lily stem. The lily reminds us that
Jesus was given new life at Easter and is no longer in the tomb. The lily reminds us that because
Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected, we too, can have new life.