w w w . N a t i v i t y S c o t t s d a l e . o r g
From the Book of Common Prayer service for Ash Wednesday:
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.
Lent, I think, is my favorite season of the church year. Its solemnity and reverence fill me with awe at God’s presence with us and God’s gracious gift of forgiveness. And each year, like many of you, I adopt some discipline that allows me to remember that this time is devoted to God. The traditional disciplines of the church are self-examination and repentance, prayer, fasting, and self-denial, and reading and meditating on the scriptures. This year, I would like to invite you all to join me in a special set of disciplines, suggested by The Restoration Project, an Episcopal group that wishes to restore the centrality of our spiritual lives. Their Lenten challenge to us is:
Pray for 20 minutes a day. Worship for 1 hour a week. Serve others for 4 hours a month.
Why do these numbers make a difference? Studies show that people who pray for 20 minutes a day report being stronger, more satisfied, and more joy-filled than those who pray less or not at all. Worshipping one hour a week is how we allow God to nourish us spiritually. Serving others is how we put our faith into action, reminding ourselves that loving others is something we do not just with our hearts, but with our hands.How to go about doing this? Worshipping one hour a week is simple – Nativity’s Sunday worship services offer ample opportunities. Praying 20 minutes a day is more difficult, unless you have a way to focus your prayer. Here is what I recommend. Follow the daily prayer discipline in the Book of Common Prayer. You can pray it alone or with another person, or a group. The simplest way to do this is online. Here are some sources:My favorite online source is www.missionstclare.com (click on “Morning and Evening Prayer,” then on “Rite II Calendar,” then on today’s date (either the sunshine or the moon, depending on the time of day). You can also find a version at www.dailyoffice.org A shorter version is found at www.prayer.forwardmovement.org/daily_prayer_anytime.php. Serving four hours a week can be a challenge. Here are some options:Join the group of Nativity parishioners who serve at our sister church, Iglesia Santa Maria, by giving away food to people in need, the third and fifth Saturday morning of each month. For more information, please contact Don Balint at firstname.lastname@example.org.For April, join Nativity parishioners in building a house for Habitat for Humanity. Please see the information on page ____.Search out a service opportunity within Nativity (help with children’s programs, serve in the kitchen, etc.), or at your place of work, or in your community. What matters is that you are serving others!I will commit to doing the 20 + 1 + 4 challenge alongside you! Together, we will grow in faith and prepare for the Lord’s Resurrection Day on Easter, April 20!In Christ, Susan
A note from Pastor Susan
Transforming lives with the love of God in Jesus Christ
An Invitation to a Holy Lent