I love the tongue-in-cheek comment from our Sunday Forum Ministry Team: “Haven’t we been doing Lent for a year now? I’m tired of giving stuff up!” Yep…it sure feels that way, but for most of us, we’ve been giving up stuff perhaps without much spiritual benefit.
So, maybe don’t give anything up for Lent this year! Maybe this season of spiritual deepening (which starts in only 8 days!) can be an opportunity to offer yourself something more nourishing than further deprivation. If there is one thing none of us need this year, it’s a more-abrasive hair shirt or flagellum!
Soon, you will receive a Lenten devotional in the mail from Plymouth. Like our Advent devotional booklet, this comes from a group of young clergywomen called A Sanctified Art. I hope that you enjoy it and engage with it!
One of our members, David Petersen, a renowned Old Testament scholar and formerly dean of Candler School of Theology at Emory University, will begin offering a weekly reflection on the reading from the Revised Common Lectionary. You’ll be able to find it online at plymouthucc.org/lent2021 as the season begins. We are amazingly fortunate at Plymouth to have such scholars among us!
If you are feeling in a crafty-prayerful frame of mind, I invite you to join me for a two-part Prayer Bead workshop, February 20 & 21. We’ll learn how to create a strand of Anglican Prayer Beads (all tools and materials provided…a $43 materials fee is requested) on a Saturday morning and then pray with them and write our own prayers on Sunday afternoon via Zoom. You can learn more and sign up at plymouthucc.org/adults (I’ll also be doing beads with our Middle School and High School Youth Groups.)
And the aforementioned Forum Ministry Team has great plans for you on Sunday mornings in Lent at 9:00 a.m. via Zoom. Their first foray on February 21 is an exploration of the themes of Lent (wilderness, searching for God, grief, repentance) have been a part of our pandemic journey. The following week, Wayne Carpenter will offer “How to Be Sick,” an exploration of chronic illness, its losses and discoveries.
As I invite you to engage your spiritual journey fully, I leave you with this offering from the cycle of Celtic prayers I use with Anglican Prayer Beads:
You are the love of each living creature, O God.
You are the warmth of the rising sun.
You are the whiteness of the moon at night.
You are the strength of the waves of the sea.
You are the life of the growing earth.
Speak to me this day, O Lord, speak to me your truth.
Dwell with me this day, O Lord, dwell with me in love.
Blessings to you!
P.S. Our Ash Wednesday service will be on Zoom at 7:00 p.m. on February 17…look for an email invitation.
The Rev. Hal Chorpenning has been Plymouth's senior minister since 2002. Before that, he was associate conference minister with the Connecticut Conference of the UCC. A grant from the Lilly Endowment enabled him to study Celtic Christianity in the UK and Ireland. Prior to ordained ministry, Hal had a business in corporate communications. Read more about Hal.