When we think about “the elements” in the context of Christian worship, we’re probably thinking of the bread and the wine of the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist. However, elements simply means components. In this example, bread and wine are the physical things that make up the meal. Water would be an element of baptism. There are many more elements that make up both of these rituals, depending on the particular Christian tradition, like specific prayers, scripture readings, sayings, motions, candles, and even outfits, to name a few of these elements. I’m calling the theme we’ll be exploring this Lent “Elements” because in each of the scripture readings we’ll be exploring, we’ll examine a particular physical element of the story: Bread, Air, Water, Wood, and Stone. These “Elements” appear over and over again in scripture and play essential roles in shaping our faith and tradition.
Ash Wednesday – Yes, we’ll have Drive-By Ashes again this year starting at 7:30am on February 26th. Come and receive ashes on your way to work or your way home – either Matt or Rachel will be here all day. Or, you can join us for a brief (15 minutes at most!) service of prayer and imposition of ashes starting promptly either at 12:15pm or 6:30pm in the sanctuary.
This year, our Lenten Devotional will be a little different from your previous experiences of a devotional. We’re inviting you to create a devotional of your own through the spiritual practice of journaling. I know, I know… you don’t like journaling. Please, don’t stop reading. Journaling is hard, at least for some of us. Me included. However, just like with sports and music, spiritual practice shouldn’t always be easy. The act of journaling is exercise! Hopefully, when you read a devotional that someone else has written, it pushes or challenges you to think more creatively about your faith and understanding. Journaling about scripture and your faith can have the same effect, especially when you have some helpful prompts. And that’s the plan: We’re going to provide a scripture passage and several questions to ponder, then ask you to write stream of consciousness style for just 10 minutes a day. Use your phone to time or a grandfather clock to time yourself! 10 minutes. Nonstop writing. Just write it down, get it out there! The more you free yourself to engage in the practice, the more you’ll grow.
Things that help:
a) a dedicated space and time. A routine doesn’t just work for toddlers!
b) Write something like the date, the time, the weather, the location at the top of your entry. Something that might help bring you back to this experience of journaling should you ever decide to look back at your journal, something that some people find to be a helpful practice.
c) Pick a journal that’s meaningful to you: like the back of your receipts from the day all stapled together, the margins of Sunday’s bulletin, your favorite color middle-school-style composition book, a beautiful leather-bound journal from Tuscany. It’s up to you! Just make it something meaningful; it’ll help you want to practice.
The scripture passages and questions will appear on our Facebook page, website, or by email (if you request to receive them that way), and you provide the journal. We want to share pictures of the covers of your journals to help inspire others to join the practice, and we hope to feature a photo of the cover of different people’s journals every day, along with the scripture passage and questions. To join the email list, email me and let me know you want to receive the journal prompts: firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Journaling!