YOU’RE INVITED TO CELEBRATE A HOLY LENT
This year during Lent, we invite you to participate in two opportunities for spiritual formation (three if you count Soup Suppers as a Lenten discipline).
LECTIO DIVINA & CENTERING PRAYER
We all recognize that communication is a two-way street. We also recognize that healthy relationship requires effective, two-way communications between the parties. Our relationship with God is no different. Prayer is the primary means of communication between us and God. But what generally happens is that we do all the talking and don’t give God a chance to get a word in edgewise. This year we will engage in two forms of prayerful communication designed to strengthen our relationship with God.
We will be continuing with our practice of Centering Prayer, which we started last Lent. Based on our experience last year, Centering Prayer became a regular monthly practice in our Parish. Centering prayer is an ancient method of prayer that is designed to allow God to have an opportunity to speak to us, and in the process, to allow us to connect with God, which provides the deepest kind of refreshment. As Thomas Keating, one of the great masters of contemporary Centering Prayer notes, “Centering prayer is not a way of turning on the presence of God. Rather, it is a way of saying, ‘Here I am.’ The next step is up to God.”
Centering Prayer is a natural outgrowth of another spiritual practice known as Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina, or “Divine Reading” is a practice designed for listening to the word of God in Scripture. It is a traditional way of cultivating a deeper relationship with Christ, by being in conversation with Christ through the words of Scripture.
On the Tuesday evenings in Lent (February 20 and 27; and March 6, 13, and 20) at 6:30, we will explore and practice the ancient disciplines of Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer. We will start with a time of Lectio Divina and then conclude with some time in Centering Prayer as a way of allowing what came up in Centering Prayer to rest within us. During the first session, and in subsequent sessions as appropriate, we will provide instruction on both of these ancient spiritual practices.
“WHEN DID WE SEE YOU, LORD?” – A LENTEN BOOK STUDY
Presented by The Rev. Sharon Sheffield
We expect to find messages from God in scripture, in music, in sermons, and of course in prayer. But how often do we look for messages in unexpected places? Specifically, how often do we look or listen for God in the genre novels we find on our bookshelves and in libraries? Jesus said he was to be found “in the least of these” that we see around us every day. So let’s take a look at some current and recent science fiction and fantasy novels, and use them as a gateway for finding God in some pretty strange places. Each week we will look at a short passage from a modern genre novel and see how it relates to the Bible, theology, current events, and our own lives.
The Rev. Sharon Sheffield sees part of her ministry as being be a bridge between worlds. In her quest to help people see that God can be found in unexpected places, she has lectured on the influence of Western Christianity on food traditions for the Culinary Historians of Southern California, and will be lecturing on how the English Church influenced Charles Dickens’ writings for the Riverside Dickens Festival in February 2018. She has also helped edit several novels and short stories that deal with religion in a science fiction context. She is often a panelist on religious and anthropological topics at various science fiction conventions, most recently at the World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki and at LosCon, the annual science fiction convention in Los Angeles.
The book study will be held on the Thursday evenings in Lent (February 22; March 1, 8, 15, and 22) at 6:30 at 6:45.
Important Note – To more fully understand and appreciate what we will be discussing, it is strongly recommended that those attending the book study read sections of the book to be discussed prior to each session. Packets of the selected readings are available in the Parish Office. We will also have packets available at each session.
And of course, feeding the body is as important as feeding the mind and the soul. We will have our annual Lenten Soup Supper on Thursdays at 6:00. Diane Kela and her team of cooks will feed us delicious meals of soup, salad, and bread. We ask a free-will donation, as you are able, to help defray the cost of the food.