Lent is a time of preparation; a season for the contemplation of Jesus’ life, teachings, death, and resurrection. It is also a time of self-reflection and an invitation to deep soul work. This year the season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, (February 17, 2021) and ends Easter Sunday, (April 4, 2021). Traditionally, for forty days, not counting Sundays, we remember and celebrate Jesus’ journey to the cross. Many faith traditions practice fasting, (giving something up), almsgiving, (sharing with those in need), and setting aside more time for prayer as spiritual disciplines. This year we are making a special invitation to do more than “observe” the season. We invite you to take a deep dive into intentional inner work. Our website, gracehappens.org, will have more information on these and the practice of centering prayer for those who are interested.
Throughout this past year, as a congregation, we have been learning about the powerful effect stillness and being present have on our entire being, emotional, physical, and spiritual. This year we encourage you to do more than remember and celebrate Jesus’ journey. You are invited to join this journey as we come away from the edges and into the WILD.
Grace Community cherishes the intergenerational nature of worship and relationship in our congregation; we know that the curiosity and desire to seek after God are as present in our little ones taking first tentative steps as they are in our elders who have lived long lives of seeking and service. So we welcome the reflection of the Lenten season and offer the Nature Notebook and Lenten Calendar as tools of contemplation for each person, no matter how young or old.
The scriptures for reflection are aligned with weekly sermons. Richard Rohr’s book Everything Belongs serves as a backdrop for the sermon series. You may be interested in exploring this book during your Lenten journey.
There is a connection to the holy in nature. Even in the messiest yard, or the potted plants of the worst gardener, life can be observed. Each day, you are invited to go outside and spend at least 10 minutes studying God’s creation. This can be done in your own backyard, Grace’s Prayer Garden, labyrinth, a park, by a pond, or a place you find special. While outside, you may wish to use a notebook, sketch pad, this booklet, a calendar, or even the folded paper you use to bookmark your bible, to make note of what caught your attention. Draw a picture, write a word, or simply doodle. There is not a wrong way to do this because it is your notebook and your experience. Families, don’t stress if your child isn’t ready to quietly observe for 10 minutes, and don’t stress if the reality of what you do doesn’t match the idea of what you wanted that time to be. Embrace what it is. If children want to draw detailed images of what they saw or if they plunk a rock that is actually just a chunk of concrete in your hand, the process is the point. Youth and adults may wish to expand the time spent in God’s creation. The longer time allows for deeper reflection.
Using a calendar template is a simple, playful but serious practice for praying our way through the forty days of Lent. Returning to the calendar each day establishes a special time to be present to God . There is a calendar in this booklet. You can pick up a larger one at the church office, or print one out from our website, gracehappens.org. While each family unit only needs one booklet, it is recommended that each individual has a calendar sheet.
Ways To Use The Calendars
- Pray for a person and write the name in the allotted space. Then as you pray, draw or doodle around it or color with colored pencils or markers.
- Read our weekly scripture each day and choose a word that stands out to you. Write the word and draw or doodle around it. Add color with colored pencils or markers. Let the word speak to you.
- Make it your nature notebook. Once you have spent time outside, use the calendar as a place to record your thoughts or feelings.
- Use it as a tool of reflection and self-examination. Write specific worries, fears, and sorrows on the calendar along with your hope, dreams, and joys. Draw, doodle, or color the segment for that day as you pray or consider these things.
February 17 – Ash Wednesday
Isaiah 58:6-12 The Message
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins, If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.
February 21 Into the Wildnerness
Mark 1:12-13 NRSV
12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
February 28 Learning to See
Luke 11:34 NRSV
34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness.
March 7 Surrender
Mark 8:35-36 NRSV
35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel,[a] will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?
March 14 Perfect love casts out fear
I John 4:18-21 NRSV
18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love[a] because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters,[b] are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister[c] whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters[d] also.
March 21 Forgiveness
John 4:1-15; 25-30; 39 NRSV
4 Now when Jesus[a] learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John” 2 —although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— 3 he left Judea and started back to Galilee. 4 But he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.
7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)[b] 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he,[a] the one who is speaking to you.”
27 Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” 28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah,[b] can he?” 30 They left the city and were on their way to him.
39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.”
March 28 Holy Week
Matthew 28 NIV
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.