Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ash Wednesday & More

Ash Wednesday message:
I recommend for your spiritual resources this season going to www.thechristianyear.blogspot.com for special Ash Wednesday and Lenten readings, and you can leave comments, reflections, and other Lenten resources for all there; also check out the daily and weekly readings and reflections for this season at www.textweek.com, and also through the Virtual Monastery site and selections and archives at www.uuchristian.org. You can also order for $15 a special packet of Lenten and Easter reflections from the UUCF by sending me an email request.

Today's lectionary selection for Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent draws from the book of Matthew's chapter 6, where Jesus calls his disciples to pay attention to how they meet God in private, and how God meets us in private, not just in how we put on a front and act in public. It is a call, though, not to have a wholly private religion or spirituality, because also in that selection Jesus tells us to pray what has become known as the Lord's Prayer which is a strong social gospel prayer where Jesus prays for God's will to come to earth, and for the ending of debts and for bread enough for all for each day and the ending of hunger. But Jesus is talking about meeting God in one's conscience, in the places where only the person and God know what is really real, in the struggles and cries and even celebrations not shared with anyone else--knowing the comfort that comes from knowing that in those times and moments God is there to receive our prayers, and thus to receive us. In mystery, for sure; but surely in love.

So this season, we don't have to make a show of what we give up for Lent or take on for Lent, but we should pay attention to our inner life, to how we are with family and friends, with recommitting to live a life of integrity, of what we can and should relinquish and/or take up, knowing we will fall short, but that the path of integrity stays open before us, even though it is a path that leads to the cross because a life of integrity and compassion in Jesus' way always leads to the crosses put up by Empire and the forces of culture that seem to so control our communities and our lives, a path that leads also to resurrection and celebration and communion and forgiveness and wholeness again....click on read more for more.

We will be joining Turley United Methodist Church, 6050 N. Johnstown Ave., at 6 pm tonight for Ash Wednesday service. All are invited to meet with us there for a brief service to begin the season of discipleship, reflection, service, and renewal of God's spirit in us and among us.

This Sunday, March 1, at 10 am as we meet at A Third Place Community Center, 6514 N. Peoria Ave., we will begin a Lenten series using the just released DVD program featuring contemporary biblical and religious scholars John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg, called First Light: Jesus and the Kingdom of God. They go on site in Israel, from Galillee to Jerusalem, talking about and showing places crucial to Jesus' ministry. We will be showing, between now and Easter, the last six episodes of the program where they focus on Jesus taking his radical message and his radical way of living hospitality to Jerusalem, creating livingroom for all where forces of death and despair were all around, leading up to Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. This first program we will be watching and discussing during our holy conversation time is called "Jesus Is Lord."

On Sundays during Lent this will be our schedule: March 8, the First Light program is called "Substitutionary Atonement?"; on Sunday March 15 it is "Demonstrations in Jerusalem"; on Sunday March 22 it is "The Crowds and the Crucifixion"; on Sunday, March 29 as part of Revival (www.uuchristian.org/revival) we will be worshipping with All Souls Church, 2952 S. Peoria; on Sunday, April 5, America as the New Rome, and Easter Sunday, April 12, "Resurrection as Resistance". Holy Conversation time comes during our Morning Prayer and Song time that begins at 10 am. Followed by our time of cooking and eating lunch together. We will have more Holy Week events to announce as we draw near them.

Next week we will be gathering on Tuesday March 3 at 7 pm to keep planning and planting new community gardens in our area, and on Thursday, March 5 we will be at Cherokee School to help co-sponsor the Weathercall program with the school and with Channel 8 to sign people up for phone calls during severe weather for just 50 cents a month. Then Friday, March 6 at 5:30 pm we will have our monthly community coalitions meeting for North Tulsa at the Tulsa Community College, sponsored by State Rep. Seneca Scott.

Coming up. you are invited also on Wednesday, March 11, at 7 pm for a special program and conversation called Celebrating Diversity in the Turley Area as we talk about race and class and more in our area, sharing personal stories and struggles, and our hopes and dreams. This will be facilitated by our member Dr. Lisa Byers, who is also a graduate faculty at the OU Social Work Dept.

Then Friday, March 13, from 6 pm we will have a benefit spaghetti and chili dinner for A Third Place Free Community Center. This is a great way to come support our life-changing work here on North Peoria.

Also I encourage all to attend the Faith Matters series on Mondays at Phillips Theological Seminary. Go to www.ptstulsa.edu for more info.