This year we journeyed from the First Sunday of Lent, on February 17, when our Lenten scene was laid out with a story of the journey on rough roads, how the stones and rocks make the walking unstable and our need to depend on our companions for steadfast support as we travelled through Lent to Easter. Christine told of her experience when her father was dying: The physical challenges were great, and we had no one in our family who had medical training, so the obstacles seemed great. However, with determination and wonderful support from Dad’s doctor and other medical personnel we made it through the rocky terrain of the palliative care of a loved one.
The Lenten Candle Liturgy
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12)
As it is in the Season of Advent when we anticipate the birth of Jesus by lighting one candle in the Advent Wreath each week of Advent, during our Lenten journey towards Easter we anticipate the crucifixion and death of Jesus by extinguishing one candle each six Sundays of Lent, the last one being on Palm Sunday.
The Second Sunday of Lent we heard of the importance of discovery through storytelling and sharing of faith traditions; at night the travelers would gather around a fire and recap the adventures of the day or talk of other experiences.
As Christians, actively learning and exploring our faith tradition, we also have the privilege of hearing and telling the stories of Jesus’ life and ministry. We are privy to the things that were really important to him and the things that challenged and frustrated him the most. In this season of Lent, we travel with Jesus through the stories of his wilderness experiences, his joys and frustrations in his teaching and healing ministry, and his struggles with helping others to understand God’s call for a compassionate and just society. (excerpt from Christine’s Reflection)
On the Third Sunday of Lent we were reminded that water was a critical item necessary to sustain all travellers on their journey of faith.
Jesus said, “and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.‘” (John 7:38)
Our Lenten journey continued through the Fourth Sunday of Lent when Christine introduced a shawl made from left over yarns of prayer shawls, all lovingly knit by our Prayer Shawl Ministry. She reminded us, that like the colours and textures of the yarns in the shawl, we are each individuals but despite our diversity, we are all “knit together” in a community of faith.
The lesson on the Fifth Sunday of Lent was one of caring and nurturing for each other. To be whole and healthy we need to experience instances of care and nurture, both physical and spiritual; to give others similar experiences of such care of the soul. We read in scripture the story of Mary washing Jesus’ feet with expensive oils and Jesus reflection on the Old Testament passage, “Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I command you, ‘Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbour in your land.’”
Palm Sunday (The Sixth Sunday of Lent) started early with a community service of Blessing of the Palms in the Platzl Gazebo, gathering with other travelers from the Anglican and Presbyterian congregations in Kimberley. Following, we gathered for worship in our own sanctuaries.
Christine continued with a Palm Sunday Service, reflecting that the theme of Maundy Thursday commemorates Jesus’ Last Supper: as Jesus gives his disciples the commandment to “love one another” in word and in action, (John 13:34) he sets an example of service with an ethic of love motivating and compelling that servant ministry which he wanted his disciples to remember and continue to practice.
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As we walk together into this Holy Week we pray that our eyes will be set on Jesus. As we walk in his footsteps we remember and give thanks for the power of his love and his trust in God. And so, we pray…
Gracious God, who bids us to follow Christ,
we remember Jesus entering Jerusalem in triumph,
welcomed with palms and shouts of praise.
Guide us through this Holy Week
and awaken within us the stirrings of hope,
that trusting in your faithfulness
we may be healed and transformed,
daring to love in your name.
(Living the Christ Life, pgs. 134 & 137, adapted)
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On Good Friday we gathered in the Sanctuary for a contemplative service to mark the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
Easter Morning began with a Sunrise Service on Fertilizer Road:
And across our beautiful, evolving world
another Easter dawns,
tenderly inviting us to ponder upon
and alternative visions…
So Christ is risen!
Risen again in the midst of it all—
that in some amazing way
we too may be a people of hope
who walk in the light,
imbued with the Spirit.
by Peter Millar of the Iona Community,
entitled, The Invitation of Easter, Fire and Bread, pgs. 66-67, Wild Goose Publications, 2006
Holy Communion was celebrated in our Sanctuary. Christine’s Easter reflection began with this prayer:
Gracious and loving God,
we have been faithful companions
as we’ve travelled together
on our journey with Jesus.
We’ve been through the wilderness
and pondered stories of faith and wisdom.
We’ve gathered with palms and acclamations
and travelled to the foot of the cross.
With followers, from an earlier time,we’ve grieved Jesus’ suffering and death.
And here we are, gathered again,
with hope and expectation
to bear witness to the miracle of new life
and the celebration of the living Christ in our midst.
Holy One, this day and every day
may we walk in the Way of Jesus.