Thursday, February 4, 2016

Our Lenten Worship Journey - The Path

Greetings to my brothers and sisters, worship planners and leaders, liturgy nerds and readers!  Lent is fast approaching ... It starts next week!  So, if it's helpful, I thought I would post the series we'll be going through at FUMCA.

This year, we're taking things on as a journey ... a hike ... a marathon ... Lent is a time of trial and perseverance that Christ calls us to and carries us through.  The series follows the Gospel stream of the RCL.  I've included, as always, scriptures, sermon titles, a description of the series for websites/worship guides, and a few ideas to start the sermon.

If you find it useful, please let me know in the comments!  An Easter Season Series is on the way1


Our 2016 Lenten Journey:
The Path

Welcome to The Path, FUMC of Arlington’s 40-Day Journey of Lent.  It is a time to accept the call to set aside more time than usual to cultivate our faith lives.  Where, in the end, we have deepened our relationship Christ, deepened our relationship with the church, and centered ourselves on the call God puts on each of our lives to be better, do better, love more.

At least, this is the hope and the goal.

The Christian life could be described as a marathon, a lifelong journey, of study, praise, and service.

It could also be described as a treacherous hike, where peaceful streams travel down into dangerous valleys.

We are called to exert effort in our life journey with Christ, in our personal journeys, and in the way we bring others along with us.  But, as always, when we jump into the race we have Christ as our trail guide, our coach, and ... our map, as the Word of God made flesh.

From our start on February 10, Ash Wednesday, to Easter Sunday on March 31, here is a vision of The Path:

  • February 10 - Ash Wednesday
    • Scriptures - Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
      • 2nd … All of them, but especially Psalm 51:1-17
    • Sermon Title - Before We Start, We Practice
      • Themes
        • Are there ‘Lent experts’?  Are there faith experts?
          • 10,000 hours
        • “Give me a clean heart”
  • February 14 - Lent One
    • Scriptures - Luke 4:1-13
      • 2nd - Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
        • The Lord delivers ...
    • Sermon Title:  The Starting Line
      • Themes
        • Jesus’ temptation …
          • Testing God?
        • Practice of fasting …
          • What’s holding us back in our relationship with Christ?  
          • What are we filling our bellies, minds, and hearts with that create barriers?
  • February 21 - Lent Two
    • Scriptures - Luke 13:31-35
      • 2nd - Phil 3:17-4:1
        • Citizenship of heaven, standing firm
    • Sermon Title - Getting off track
      • Themes
        • Jerusalem kills prophets?  Foreshadowing Palm Sunday.
        • Jesus’ (Son of God) desires to gather all children together
        • Perseverance
  • February 28 - Lent Three
    • Scriptures - Luke 13:1-9
      • 2nd - Isaiah 55:1-9
        • Come to the waters … My ways are higher ways.
    • Sermon Title - Traversing obstacles
      • Themes
        • A call for repentance
          • Yes, we do need to do it to follow Christ.
        • The practice of confession/repentance
        • When bad things happen …
          • Bad theology … Defining ‘God’ is hard.  We should, however, know ‘not God’.
  • March 6 - Lent Four
    • Scriptures - Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
      • 2nd - 2 Cor 5:16-21
        • New creation ...
    • Sermon Title - Don’t look back
      • Themes
        • Eating with sinners … Communion, anyone?
        • The Prodigal Son
          • God desires all to repent and return home.
          • The center of Luke’s story.
        • Practicing hospitality
  • March 13 - Lent Five
    • Scriptures - John 12:1-8
      • 2nd - Phil 3:4b-14
        • Press onward to the goal … Resurrection
    • Sermon Title:  Almost done, but not yet
      • Themes
        • Anointing at Bethany
          • For burial, but where is Christ going?
        • At the home of Resurrected Lazarus - a foreshadowing of Easter
        • Tie in to washing the disciples’ feet
        • Judas vs. Mary
          • Practicing generosity
  • March 20 - Lent Six: Palm Sunday
    • Scriptures - Luke 19:28-40
      • 2nd - Phil 2:5-11
    • Sermon Title - Not the finish line
      • Themes
        • The irony of Jerusalem's Welcome.
          • Back to the killing of prophets …
        • The Reality - Jesus is going to die, for our salvation.
          • Practicing self-sacrifice
        • Breaking down whatever At-One-Ment means.
      • Hope

Holy Week

  • March 24 - Holy Thursday
    • Scriptures - Luke 22:14-20
    • Sermon Title - Fuel for the Marathon
      • Themes
        • Jesus calls us to remember him in a meal - a meal that’s free to us, but comes at great cost to Christ
        • A symbol of sacrifice, that at the same time causes us to pause, rest, and give thanks
        • Communion is for the Community.
          • It binds us together, in the good and the bad, reminding us that we are equally given the grace of Christ.
  • March 25 - Good Friday
    • Scripture - John 18:1-19:42
    • Sermon Title - It is Finished
      • Themes
        • Don't be afraid to read the whole story, break it up throughout the service, and intersperse hymns and anthems.  This might be the only time all year that people read/hear the Passion Narrative at one time.
          • Reading the Gospel is much more than preaching it in this instance.
        • Christ did die to save us from our sins, our selves.
          • Do not shy away from this fact by bringing in a happy ending.  We need to wait for Easter for that.
        • I would recommend you conduct your worship in the traditional way and not have any kind of postlude or dismissal.  Directions can be in your worship guide, but the more abrupt the ending the better.
  • March 27 - Easter Sunday!
    • Scripture - John 20:1-18
      • Sermon Title - Love Wins
        • Themes
          • The Disciples had all of the information they needed, but still the doubted the Resurrection would happen.
          • Our lack of faith doesn’t determine the faith God has in us.
          • Love wins out for us, but it’s just the start of another journey.
The banner for the series is designed my super creative Director of Design at FUMCA, Mary Gibson.  Feel free to check out her work here.