Lenten Midday Services
Wednesdays at 12:30pm
During the Lenten season Northside will be posting brief presentations on the inward journey based on Richard Fosters book The Celebration of Discipline.
Reverend Susan Meadors will provide an introduction to the disciplines explored during the four weeks leading up to Holy Week. The Reverend Jennifer Deaton, Canon for Pastoral Care at St. Andrews Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson will address Meditation, Dr. Shelli Poe of Safe Harbor UCC in Clinton will speak on Study, Father Mike O’Brien on Prayer, and the Reverend Ann Whitaker of Water Valley, Mississippi about Simplicity or Simple Living. In addition to these fine speakers each week we will enjoy the gifts of several of our church musicians: Janet Taylor on organ, Jimmy Sclater on clarinet with Dottie Serio, Toney Wheeler with Dottie Serio, Judy Gearhart accompanied by Dottie Serio, and finally Ben Randman on Cello. As you can see, our Lenten programs do promise to be a very enriching time together.
Feb 24 Introduction to the Inward Discipline by Susan Meadors, music by organist Janet Taylor
Mar 3 Meditation by Jennifer Deaton, music by clarinetist Jimmy Sclater
Mar 10 Study by Shelli Poe, music by soloist Toney Keeler with pianist Dottie Serio
Mar 17 Prayer by Father Mike, music by soloist Judy Gearhart with pianist Dottie Serio
Mar 24 Simplicity by Ann Whitaker, music by cellist Ben Randman
The Season of Lent
Lent is a forty day season of penitence leading to Easter. (Every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection, and they are not included.) The forty days recall the Israelites’ forty years in the desert and Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness. Lent invites us into a season of exploring the depths of our estrangement from God’s love.
Traditionally, Lent is a season of prayer, penitence, fasting and almsgiving. These are ancient Christian practices of restoration. They are aimed at restoring relationships with God and with our communities, relationships we have broken through sin.
The conclusion of the Collect for Ash Wednesday from A New Zealand Prayer Book reads,
“God of the desert, as we follow Jesus into the unknown, may we recognize the tempter when he comes; Let it be your bread we eat, your world we serve and you alone we worship.”
Pay attention to the phrase, “may we recognize the tempter when he comes.” It’s not a matter of if temptation comes, but how, when, and in what form. In the Sundays during Lent, the sermons will focus on the Hebrew Bible scriptures appointed for the day. In each one, we will explore parts of their story that seem to speak to the human journey of spirituality, things like having our eyes opened, leaving home, questions of God’s presence, fearful change, and the tension of death. Each of these figures, like us, needed to recognize the tempter when he came. And while temptation manifested itself differently in each of these stories and figures, one common temptation remains, the temptation to stay put-for things to remain the same. So, as we look into the lives of Adam, Abram, Moses, Samuel, and Ezekiel, may each of us to resist the temptation to stay put.
Go on a journey this Lent, follow Jesus into the unknown, follow the driving of the Holy Spirit into your own personal desert. As you do, know you do not journey alone. Take some time to prepare your spirit this season. Challenge yourself through daily scripture reading, regular participation in worship, and engage in a Lenten fast. All are encouraged to attend the Lenten Lunch Series on Wednesdays at noon. In this series, a variety of speakers will address the inner disciplines in Richard Foster’s Classic, “The Celebration of Discipline”, fasting, study, meditation, and prayer.
The most difficult part of the spiritual journey is not the physical places God leads us, but the depths of the self God will examine. C’mon, don’t stay put, take on this journey as your own.
Lenten Banner – The three banners represent the bold call to Lent, the journey to the cross, and finally the invitation to prayer. The color purple is the color of preparation and also of repentance.