Dear Church Family,
The Season of Lent is upon us. Once again, we will be sharing our Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday services with our friends from the Lutheran Church of the Master. They will be planning and hosting the Ash Wednesday service. I will preach that evening. We will plan and host the Maundy Thursday service during Holy Week and Pastor Peg will preach.
This Lent, we will be working with the theme “Broken…or Broken Open?” Throughout this sacred season, we will explore the ways that God takes the broken parts of our lives and our world and allows them to become broken open…making way for new life. It promises to be both an honest and uplifting experience. To give us some touchstones to assist us in our exploration and help us live the season of Lent at home, the Deacons and
Education boards have created Lent-in-a-box kits for each household. These items may be useful to hold during prayers, to use to create an altar, to display as reminders of the season, or to carry in your pocket throughout the day.
Ashes to use on Ash Wednesday – feel free to use them as they are or to mix them with a little oil
Tiny mirrors – to remind us to be reflective
Small bits of reflective, colored glass – to represent our broken places that long for healing
A piece of string with knots – to symbolize the knotted places in our lives and world and to serve as something to hold during prayer or carry in a pocket
A ball of clay – to offer a way to make our prayers physical or tangible and to give us something to play with
A geode – to remind us that when we allow ourselves to be broken open, God reveals great beauty and great blessing inside of us
Lenten Devotionals: Many thanks to Laura Fisk, who created our congregational Lenten devotional, WHCC Lenten Devotional – A Year in Offerings. Laura collected and lightly edited all of the Calls to the Offering that have been given since the beginning of our COVID worship. In this devotional, you will see the arc of our congregational story in the past year. It is full of wise words and truly inspiring moments of the ways we have been broken open.
We've chosen to use the Lenten family devotional (Lent-Families-The Heart) from Illustrated Ministry. The Education board invites families to print this devotional and use it at home throughout this Lenten season. It begins with Ash Wednesday and leads readers through each week as they explore "Reflections on the Heart." We will also use this booklet in the Explorers Sunday Cool class!
Lenten Practices of Prayer and Action: Throughout the season of Lent, our Racial Justice Ministry will be sponsoring a daily racial equity challenge. Each day from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday, a different member of the Racial Justice Ministry team will send a challenge to us all – something to read, to watch, to hear, to study, to experience, or to do. Then, during Holy Week, we will share a prayer practice combining the Prayer of Examine with a personal bias reflection. We are thinking of this process of racial equity and bias work as a spiritual discipline – a practice of prayer in which we ask God to help us reflect on our lives and break open new perspectives, new insights, and new actions.
Though this Lent appears to be as unusual as last, we will find our way through a meaningful and sacred season.
So grateful we are on the road together…
Rev. Kirsten M. Linford
Westwood Hills Congregational UCC