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Join us for Lent!

Debra Rienstra writes: "Refugia Faith requires a sturdy capacity to grieve, lament and repent. It requires the humility that comes from feeling helpless and small. More important refugia faith compels us to grieve along with others, to build empathy and compassion for those whose griefs we may never have bothered about before."

She continues: "Lenten practices help us understand this spiritual necessity of facing one's own and other's griefs, and ritualizing that grief through lament. Lament does not necessarily entail guilt. Lament simply allows us to ask why, feel our sorrow, and sit with the lack of answers. In this way, lament binds us together, reminding us that when one member of the group suffers, the rest should carry that suffering too. Lament, then, is one way of respecting others and loving our neighbors." (Refugia Faith, p. 121-122)

"Lament does not necessarily entail guilt." Because our culture associates lament with "guilt" we are often afraid of asking "Why?" Because we want or need answers, because we fear the nothingness, we don't know how to grieve.

Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann in his book Praying the Psalms writes, "Psalms of lament are powerful expressions of the experience of disorientation. They express the pain, grief, dismay, and anger that life is not good. They also refuse to settle for things as they are, and so they assert hope." 

On Wednesday evenings following Ash Wednesday (so March 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29) you are invited to church at the main campus for soup at 5:00 PM, Lenten Vespers at 6:00 PM, an intergenerational service project at 6:30 PM and choir practice at 7:00 PM. Your attendance for as much or as little of this itinerary as you would like will be a gift for all.

What Brueggemann calls the "experience of disorientation," we might also recognize as freedom from needing answers for everything. Suffering does not need to make sense. It just is. "Lament is simply grief brought before God, carried in a vessel made from even the smallest shred of faith." insists Debra Rienstra.

What are the sufferings and griefs that we want to question God about? What problems seem too immense, too overwhelming, too daunting to even pray about because we have no idea where to start? Where do we begin with gun violence, climate change, political incivility, lack of access to justice and economic opportunity, racial strife, false religious claims?

Each week in Lent, during our 6:00 PM mid-week service, we will allow the beautiful music of Holden Evening Prayer to wash through us. During the worship we will pause for a Psalm of Lament. Then we will simply allow for some time in silence to question reflect, pray and listen. That is all. This year's spiritual journey of lament will be a prayer journey calling us to be present to God, our world and to one another.

With you on the journey,

Pastor Tom Tweed and Pastor Dave Brauer-Rieke

Date Psalm of Lament Releasing
Wednesday, March 1 Psalm 6 Political Incivility
Wednesday, March 8Psalm 12Economic Injustice
Wednesday, March 15Psalm 64Gun and Personal Violence
Wednesday, March 22Psalm 85Environmental Degradation
Wednesday, March 29Psalm 94False Religion

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