During Lent, our Pastors will be preaching a sermon series on spiritual practices and following each Sunday’s service, they will offer a “tasting” of that practice. In the series, they will look at service, Taizé worship, daily devotionals, meditation, and finding the holy in everyday moments.
Lent is traditionally a time of reflection and spiritual renewal. This Lent at Niles Discovery Church will be no different.
The three traditional Lenten spiritual practices are almsgiving, fasting, and prayer. We will have an opportunity to participate in almsgiving when we receive the One Great Hour of Sharing/Week of Compassion special offering on March 9 (see http://wp.me/s3WnSo-118 for more details). We won’t be focusing on fasting, but if giving up something – especially something that takes your time – would create more space for God in your life, you might want to consider doing that.
This Lent at Niles Discovery Church, we will be focusing on the third of these Lenten spiritual practices: Prayer. But we will be expanding our understanding of that word. Each Sunday worship service in Lent will focus on an aspect of prayer or a way of praying. Then, during coffee hour, those who want to can return to the Guild Room for an opportunity to “taste” that prayer practice.
Well, that’s not completely accurate. The first two Sundays will be a little different.
On March 9, we will focus on service as a form of prayer. Then, during coffee hour, the Girl Scouts present that day (it’s Girl Scout Sunday, too) will lead those who want to participate in assembling of “hygiene kits” for Church World Service. This will take place in Ford Hall in the midst of coffee hour.
As you can see the concept in action with this example: we’ll talk about a spiritual practice and then try it out, or “taste it,” if you will. That’s why our Pastors are calling these “tastings.” (By the way, you can learn more about hygiene kits at http://www.cwsglobal.org/get-involved/kits/hygiene-kits.html.)
On March 16, the process will be reversed. The worship service itself will be the tasting. We will get to experience a worship service in the style of the Taizé community. Some of you will remember that Pastor Jeff spent a week in the Taizé community in France during my sabbatical a few years ago and found praying there to be deeply spiritual. Following the worship service, those who wish to do so will gather in the Guild Room to talk about the experience. You can learn more about the Taizé community at http://www.taize.fr/en.
On March 23, we will focus on the prayer form that is probably most common within mainline Protestantism: the daily devotional. Following the worship service, people will have an opportunity to gather in the Guild Room to “taste” this prayer practice.
On March 30, we will focus on Christian forms of meditation. Following the service, people who would like to will have an opportunity to experience a form a Christian meditation in the Guild Room.
And on April 6, we will focus on the practice of finding the holy in the everyday. We haven’t quite figured out how this “tasting” will work, but we will by the time we get there.
On Palm Sunday, April 13, the choir will present a Holy Week cantata and we will begin the final week of Lent.
Take advantage of this invitation to prayer. During the course of this season, you may be reminded of a spiritual discipline you practiced in the past that fed you and try it again. Perhaps you will find a reaffirmation of a spiritual practice that is currently a regular part of your life. Perhaps you will discover a new practice that you will try out for a while.
And there is even the possibility that some of you will form a small group to encourage each other in a spiritual practice.