The Season of Lent, which begins February 26, is seven weeks long. Including the partial week that starts on a Wednesday, we count forty days until Easter. That is when we don’t count Sundays.
These forty days are symbolic of the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness following His baptism. We believe that this time is steeped in Holy mystery. But our traditions can reduce the Holy Mystery that we claim for it when viewed by those just outside the fence that separates traditional believers from everyone else.
We design worship at Asbury, based on what little we know about the people that God plans to send to worship with us. This goal leads us to set aside our customary language. Instead of “Lent,” we choose Easter preparations or some other phrase using more familiar words. Words that are more secular because they have multiple meanings in everyday use.
Woven, is what we call our worship series that begins on March 1. The first month that we associate with Spring. And our series concludes on Easter Sunday.
For this next series, we reference a book, titled Woven, as a thematic outline.1 Woven is about a spiritual awakening. The writer identifies three modes, phases, stages, or otherwise, poetic labels for his spiritual journey. The invitation is for us to determine how his journey relates to our own. And to be changed. He identifies these segmentations as sculpted, unraveled, and woven.
These milestones or places can be thought of as phases. The first place is our starting point. The place where our journey begins. We start here in our series by first celebrating together in the spirit of Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday. We dance to the music, only partially aware that in doing so, our bodies are moving. One of the five critical foundations prescribed by the Daniel Plan. Some of us will indulge in a paczki, or two. After all, it is a party.
The next day is Ash Wednesday. This year we join with our friends in Flushing as we kick off the Season of Lent with worship. We haven’t left home. We are still our sculpted selves. We still live within both visible and invisible fences that keep us safely separated from the other. And in some frightening ways, separated from God.
The first day of March. The month of Spring. We begin our process of unraveling by first meeting ourselves. We meet ourselves from a distance. As though we are strangers who encounter ourselves for the first time. Who are we? Am I meeting the person I expected to meet? We begin with the community that shaped our views. How we see the world.
By March 15, we hope to transition from the safety of our fenced-in world to a place where our sculpted self crumbles. We are in the wilderness with Jesus. We see, hear, and experience ideas that seem foreign to us. We try to imagine life outside the fence. We meet our unraveled self along the path we walk.
By the first Sunday in April, our attention turns towards new possibilities. Can we imagine resurrection? The place we are headed towards becomes more visible. We find a new weave by taking the deconstructed strands of our past beliefs and discover a new way of being and doing. A place where the inside and outside come together. We meet our woven selves.
I pray that you will plan to journey with us.
Here is the plan for March and the first two Sundays in April.
Fat Tuesday Celebration – February 25, 2020
Sometimes we just have to be bad to remind us that being bad is not worth it. Join us for a paczki and music at 6 pm in the Asbury Event Center in the lower level. While your here be sure to sign up for Daniel Plan 2.0 and take home a personal journal to help guide you through the Season of Lent.
Ash Wednesday – February 26, 2020
Treat your paczki hang-over with a worship service to kick-off your participation in Life raft. We join with other communities at Flushing UMC for a worship service at 7 pm.
March 1 & 8, 2020 – Sculpted
March 15, 22 & 29, 2020 – Unravelled
April 5 & 12, 2020 – Woven
1 Joel McKerrow, Woven – a faith for the dissatisfied. Sydney, Australia: Acorn Press, 2019.
2 Seung Hoon Park, an artist from Seoul, S. Korea, is creating the most unusual images with the use of an 8×10″ camera and threading the film to mimic the look of woven textiles. He uses both 8mm and 16mm films to create his work, each with a different outcome.