The Season of Lent will soon be among us (Feb 14). Many of us are familiar and used to the activity of giving something up for Lent. We call it Lenten Denial. I commend you to the activities you know and trust that feed your souls in this time of Journeying to the Cross, but may I also invite you into another opportunity during this season? What would it be like to read and ponder the lessons for each Sunday a few days before we gather for Worship and a few days after those lessons have been the center of our gathering in Worship? Wouldn’t this be a great way to add to our experience of God walking with us though Lent and into Easter?To aid you in this effort, we are publishing the lessons for each Sunday on our website Wednesday of each week. You can also connect to them through this email newsletter, “Connections @ Good Sam.” You will also be able to find them in a separate printed document as you walk into Worship on Sunday or when you come to Wednesday Night Vespers.
The publication of the lessons for each Sunday will include an “Introduction to the Day of Worship,” the “Prayer of the Day” for that Sunday and an “Introduction to each Lesson and it’s context.” Now you can take the lessons with you to worship and take them with you from worship. You can prepare your mind and heart to hear the Word on Sunday and reflect upon the Word after you have experienced it among the community gathered.
Here is a link to the first compilation of Sunday Lessons for this Sunday on Transfiguration of Our Lord, February 11. Join us on Ash Wednesday Feb. 14 and for the First Sunday of Lent on February 18. Don’t for get that Lenten Vespers begin on February 21 with Soup and bread at 5:30 P.M. and Lenten Vespers at 6:30 P.M. each Wednesday in Lent (Feb. 21-March 21).
As we enter the season of Lent, I begin to contemplate. I think about ways in which I can be present with others. I think about things that I [perhaps] need to release from my own life. As I ponder, I realize what I need most is to meditate on God’s Word and just listen.
During Lent, people often make some sort of change—whether it be giving something up or engaging in a new discipline. Whatever it may be, that change can be challenging. But, if we look in our scriptural “toolbox,” God gives us encouragement through His Word all along the way. If we ponder on it, it becomes more engrained within us—easier, something we can readily access.
So this year, during the Lenten season, I’m taking one scripture each week to allow me time to really internalize and digest the message God wants to reveal. I use God’s Word to settle my mind and create space to allow the Holy Spirit to speak. When I fill my mind with the Word of God, there’s no room for all the chatter. For me, this is basically putting God at the helm. By beginning each day meditating on His Word, I’m allowing Him to be my guide. It may be that’s all He wants from me–giving my time to Him first. It may be that He is leading me to grow in an area of my life. This, I don’t know. What I do know, is that spending time really meditating—or pondering—on His word helps me to grow as a Christian and in the body of Christ.
I invite you to join me in this journey of meditating, or pondering, on a scripture each week beginning on Ash Wednesday. I’m calling this journey “40 Days to Ponder.” My hope is that others might find scriptural meditation to be a useful discipline. If you’d like to take this journey, I’ve included the Bible verses I’ll be using. Feel free to use them or find ones that speak to you. If you’d like to journey together or talk about it, please contact me.
Enjoy the journey!
God Bless, Gail Wathen
Week 1: Philippians 4:13
Week 2: Isaiah 41:10
Week 3: 2 Corinthians 12:9
Week 4: John 14:27
“ If you notice in my suggestions, the first three weeks focus on strength. This was intentional. I for one find myself drawing on God’s strength daily. As I embark on a journey through lent, and discern how God is working in my life and perhaps leading me to make some changes, I will need His strength more than ever. My thoughts are that perhaps others may experience similar feelings. The last week/scripture focuses on God’s peace. John reminds us in this passage that Jesus left us with a gift when he ascended back into heaven—a gift that the world can’t give. He left us His peace. We can tap into Him at any time and He will show us how to get back to Him and how to feel the depth of spirit that brings us peace again. He alone can provide that peace that stills the mind, renews our strength and restores our soul.” –Gail
Good Sam Happenings
March 1 Ash Wednesday Service @ 7 pm – with Imposition of Ashes
March 5 [Sunday Theme] “Walking the Walk When It’s Rocky Ahead”
[March 5 through March 12 is WARM week at Good Sam when we welcome our homeless neighbors with warm meals and cots for a safe and sheltered night’s sleep.]
March 8 ◊ Soup and Bread Meal @ 5:30 pm ◊ Evening Worship (Vespers) @ 6:30 pm
March 12 [Sunday Theme] “The Early Footsteps of Faith”
March 15 ◊ Soup and Bread Meal @ 5:30 pm ◊ Evening Worship (Vespers) @ 6:30 pm
March 19 [Sunday Theme] “Where Do You Get That “Living Water” Stuff?”
All Congregation Learning Event @10 am “Invitation and Hospitality”
March 22 ◊ Soup and Bread Meal @ 5:30 pm ◊ Evening Worship (Vespers) @ 6:30 pm
March 26 [Sunday Theme] “Jesus Chooses the Blind Guy!”
March 29 ◊ Soup and Bread Meal @ 5:30 pm ◊ Evening Worship (Vespers) @ 6:30 pm
With the Lenten season upon us, many folks prefer to eat seafood on Fridays as a Lenten tradition or sacrifice. “Our Daily Bread” Food Pantry would like to focus on collecting cans/pouches of tuna as a way of supporting our neighbors in their Lenten journey. Additionally, the usual donated items needed include peanut butter & jelly, canned meats, canned fruit, pasta sauce, and cereals. Your continued support is greatly appreciated.
Lenten Vespers 2015 Schedule
Wednesday evenings (Feb. 25 – Mar. 25)
Weekly soup and bread suppers begin Wed., Feb. 25 and continue through Wed., March 25. Join us at 5:30 pm for this Lenten meal together. Vespers begin the same evening at 6:30 pm. This is a short half-hour time of reflection, music and meditation. Join us. See the schedule below for details about the focus for each Wednesday Vespers time of worship.
February 25 – How Far Away from God I Can Be
Text: Psalm 51 Message: “Far Away… O God”
March 4 – My Cause Resides with God: Remember and Draw Near
Text: Psalm 61 Message: “Cry Out”
March 11 – We Were Built for God, Not Just by God
Text: Psalm 139 Message: “Self-Discovery: A Conversation with God”
March 18 – God Is Not Only the Journey’s End, But the Journey’s Partner
Text: Psalm 23 Message: “I & Thou”
March 25 – Sing Out Your Praises
Text: Psalm 100 Message: “For Giving Thanks”
Lent is coming! Join us for Ash Wednesday on February 18 at 7 pm. This is a somber service of imposition of ashes and is a great way to begin thinking about shaping our faith as we prepare for the celebration of Easter.