Discovering Awe

The Transfiguration is a peculiar story set down in the middle of Jesus’ ministry in three of the Gospel accounts (Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36). It describes a defining moment in Jesus’ ministry, when his closest disciples could see for sure that he was connected to something heavenly, other-worldly. It shows up in the Protestant liturgical year on the last Sunday before we enter Lent.

On Sunday, we will hike up the mountain again with Jesus, Peter, James and John. And we’ll remember what they experienced there, even though Jesus warned them to tell no one about it.

I wonder what this story has to say to us about valuing the role of awe in our spiritual life. What it means to cultivate regular awe-inducing moments into our days. And how might we adopt this practice in Lent.

Preparing for Lent
The season of Lent (February 22-April 8 this year) is a time for us to deepen more intentionally into our spiritual life — perhaps in new ways or refreshing some old ways. Typically, people think of giving up something for Lent. However, Lent can also mean taking on something. Basically, Lenten practice is about adopting patterns or practices that help us sink more deeply into our souls and draw closer in our relationship and understanding of God.

As always, we will provide opportunities for all of us to do that this year. We heartily encourage you to try some if not all of them.

Ash Wednesday, February 22. Once again, we begin this year’s Lenten journey with worship that helps us remember our common humanity, remembering that we are made up of stardust and ashes, to which we will return when we die. 8am on Zoom and 7pm in the Chapel.

Praying with the Psalms. On Sundays we will immerse ourselves in this big, rich book of poetry and the ways that faithful people throughout the centuries have used it as prayer. How may we re-enter this ancient collection in new ways and how may it enrich our collective and personal prayer lives?

Study Groups. We will have in-person and online study groups to help us deepen our own personal and collective practice of praying with the psalms. Meetings after Sunday worship in person and Tuesday evenings on Zoom.

Prayer Partners. We encourage ALL of us to try or re-commit to having a prayer buddy in Lent — someone you can check in with during the week, go over your concerns and joys and offer them in prayer. We provide guidelines to make this fun and helpful. If this is something that sounds welcome and soothing or sounds like a challenge, or anything in between, then we encourage you to try it out! Prayer partnering helps us strengthen as a spiritual community.

Dinner Church. For the first time in THREE years, we will gather again like the ancient church, around a table for a common meal of soup and salad, communion, song, prayer and conversation. This is a beautiful way to worship in a different setting and rhythm. Thursdays 6-6:45pm in the Parlor, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30.

As our congregation goes more deeply into clarifying our purpose and mission in this time and place during Lent, deepening in our spiritual practices becomes even more important to ground us in God. I heartily encourage you to take part.

In faith,

Photo by Robin Benad on Unsplash

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