Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Celebrating a Holy Lent.

While many people think about Lent as a period of fasting and penitence, it is also a traditional time for catechesis—a time of preparation for Holy Baptism, Confirmation or deepening of our faith.  Jesus command us to continue his work when he said,  “full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of time." (Mt. 28:18-20)

In this Lenten season, I hope that we might all consider ways to accept this Great Commission and deepen our own faith through a Lenten period of study.  (I will also talk more over the next couple weeks about other ways to develop a Lenten discipline.)  Here are some opportunities to study and pray together as we celebrate a Holy Lent at Nativity.

Bible Study. Marcus Borg’s The Last Week:  What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Final Days in Jerusalem   
We’ll be reading the Borg book and the related Bible accounts of Jesus’ journey to the cross.  Come for coffee and discussion on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays during Lent 10:30-11:30 in the kitchen. 

February 11, 25, March 10 and 17th (And we’ll continue after Easter if we haven’t finished the book).

Being Episcopalian.   This class is for cradle Episcopalians, longtime members and newcomers to the faith.  We’ll ask: Why we do what we do in worship?  What do we believe? What’s in the prayer book?   What are the Sacraments?  How do we understand the Eucharist?  What’s the history of our Church?

We’ll meet Tuesday evenings from 6:30-7:30.  Come for all of the sessions or just when you can.  The class will be tailored to the interests and questions of the participants. 

February 16, 23, March 1, 8 and 15, 6:30-7:30

We’ll be reading The New Jim Crow, following our sister congregation, St. Francis in Novato by reading this important book on race and mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness.  As one member of our congregation said,  “Everyone of us who read it said, ‘I didn’t know’”.  I have bought three copies to share, and we’ll discuss the book after Church when people have finished it. 

For anyone interested in confirmation, I will offer a confirmation class.  The class takes 12 hours of group meeting and individual study, we will find a mutually convenient time.  Confirmation is open to any baptized person who wishes to "express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop" (BCP, p. 860).

There are three opportunities for Confirmation. 

April 23rd  Eco Confirmation at Bishop’s Ranch

May 1st at Nativity when Bishop Marc visits us

June 6th General Confirmation at Grace Cathedral.

In addition to reading and study, we will pray the Stations of the Cross weekly on Wednesday evenings 6:30-7:30 followed by a simple soup supper in the kitchen.  Come explore this prayerful walk, a meditation on Christ’s path to Cross as we journey towards the Resurrection with him.

February 17, 24, March 2, 9 and 16.

6:30-7 Stations of the Cross
7 p.m. Soup Supper

Our prayer for this Lenten period of deepening faith through study, prayer, fasting and worship:

God of power, look upon your servants as we deepen our understanding of the Gospel.
Grant that we may come to know and love you and always heed your will with receptive minds and generous hearts.
Teach us through this time of preparation and enfold us within your Church, so that we may share your holy mysteries both on earth and in heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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