Lent 2018: Setting the Table

Welcome to Lent. The exact beginnings of this Church tradition are unknown. The Bible doesn’t mention the season of Lent but we have come to recognize it as the 40 days (ok, 46 days but we don’t count Sundays) before Jesus rises from the grave on Easter morning. And Christians have been participating in Lent for hundreds of years.

Lent is marked as a season of preparation. A time to prepare ourselves; heart, mind, soul, and body, to deeply identify with the death and resurrection of Jesus. We do this through many ways but most commonly through prayer, meditation, fasting, repentance and moderation.

At Branches we like to engage in the traditions of the Church calendar because they remind us of our story. Our story is part of a great narrative that goes far beyond our own lives. And as we search for joy, purpose, identity and community we come to a realization that we are not the protagonist. Jesus is. Our lives are to be a reflection of the creator.

Each Sunday until Easter we will look at people’s lives who mirrored creation’s song and moved our hearts to glorify God. From Adam to John the Baptist scripture is full of people who set the table for the main event. These men and women set the table for a feast.

We will prepare [our hearts] for the feast in a variety of ways. Some things will be taken up and others let go. All with the goal of growing together as we move towards the cross.

Week 1 (Lent begins February 14th, Ash Wednesday)

  • Listen for God’s voice saying, “You are my beloved.”
  • Tell someone you love (appreciate, admire) them in a not weird way
  • Practice a Random Act of Kindness

Week 2 (Abraham)

  • Give up something you love

Week 3 (Moses)

  • Set the Table (Literally…at you house. And invite someone over.)
  • Make Sacred Space (time and place)
    • Meditate on God’s promise that, “I will be with you.”
    • Believing God is with you, what is he calling you to do?

Week 4 (David)

  • Set the Table (Literally…and invite someone.)
  • Share communion with someone
    • If this is totally new and a little weird, no worries. Great job going for it. Here are a couple ideas for how to share communion at your house.
      • Read Mark 14:22-24
      • Break a piece of bread or cracker between you. Say something like, “This is Christ’s body broken for you.” Then eat the bread together.
      • Pour some juice or wine for everyone. Say something like, “This is Christ’s blood shed for you.” And take a drink.
      • Say a prayer thanking God for his great love.
    • If you want to go deeper, share an obstacle you are facing. Since Jesus overcame our greatest obstacle (sin,) how is he helping you face other obstacles in your life? How does assurance of God’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness help you face obstacles in your life today?

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