by Mimi Copp Johnson
Let’s spend time together this Lent
This year Lent is bookended by Valentine’s and April Fool’s. Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s, Easter Sunday and April Fool’s share the same days. Calendars fill up. Many things vie for our attention. The weeks of Lent can pass by ordinarily without much thought or recognition to anything beyond their location on the calendar. These weeks can also pass by rather ordinarily, but also with some intention that could make some room in the everyday for something to happen to you; between you and God. It could arrive like a drop of water, as quiet as a whisper, nothing seemingly at all, or like the sound and force of a wave. Something that could be just want you need.
Lent can be a time of self-denial, fasting, moderation, or self-discipline in order to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days, or to prepare for Easter, or to reflect on yourself and your relationship with God. These are not the easiest things to do. So consider for this Lenten season, spending time with your fellow Old First community members as a source of support for what you are setting out to do with God. Or, consider the very act of being with your community members as your Lenten practice or discipline.
Here are two ways you can do that.
Sacred Conversations on Race
Beginning the first Sunday in Lent, The SCOR Mission Team will hold four Sunday afternoon programs, on the 3rd Sunday of each month, February through May, focusing on race and racism in our congregation. Bring a brown bag lunch and stay after worship for learning and discussion. The programs will last about 90 minutes and finish by 2:30.
Since we began our Conversation in 2015, we’ve met in small discussion groups focusing on race and racism in our individual lives, learned about the history of American racism, and attended outside meetings about how white privilege operates in all our lives.
We haven’t yet focused specifically on race relations at Old First. From our Colonial beginnings, issues of race and racism have been woven into our Congregational life in one way or another simply because we are in Philadelphia. Sometimes, events close to the congregation have required us to recognize a situation involving race, and make a prayerful decision on how to live out our faith.
During the weeks of Lent, the Old First community gathers in small groups to spend time together, to get to know each other more, to go through Lent and look to Holy Week together. This year’s theme is “what does it mean to be church?”
Different types of gatherings will be offered by hosts at different times throughout the weekends of Lent. The gatherings may be a meal or appeziters in someone’s home, coffee at a coffee shop, or food at a restaurant, etc… Hosts will lead us in informal conversations.
Let’s spend time together this Lent. Please check-out the variety of gatherings and sign-up to attend. Then the Comm Life SLG will reach out to you with more details.
If you have questions or would like more information, please talk to SLG members, Peter B, Mimi CJ, John O, and Jackie W.
During the coming weeks, winter will turn more and more into spring and the days will lengthen (which is where the term Lent comes from). Maybe Lent could be the beginnings for you, of adding new, different, or more spiritual disciplines or practices to your life to see your relationship with God develop, turn, deepen, grow, change.