Lenten Listening

This Wednesday we embark on the season of Lent beginning with an Ash Wednesday service. During Lent many Christians commit to fasting, or giving up "luxuries," adding daily devotionals, or adjusting life in some way to replicate the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. It is a way for us to be intentional in our own lives, turning our attention outward rather than inward; giving up some of our own needs in order to understand the needs of others.
If you have been thinking about how you might use the Lenten season, have been contemplating what might be a meaningful habit during Lent, I would ask you to consider "listening." The sermon series and focus for Lent at First Congregational this year is Lend Me Your Ears: Listen to God and Neighbors. If you are thinking of giving something up - how about your voice; if you are adding something, how about your ears? 
There are multiple ways of listening available to us during the season of Lent. Each Sunday we will listen to the voices in the chosen texts. Who are the voices? What are they saying in the context? What are they saying to us today. After worship on March 18, we will offer a chance to talk about what we have heard.
We can listen to nature. What are the joyous sounds you hear? Are there cries of pain? How are we responding to those sounds? We have two opportunities to continue our understanding of White Privilege and race. On March 7 at 7:00pm, Rev. Dr. Stephen Ray will be with us for a conversation around race. On March 14 at 7:00pm we will have the chance to listen to the Honorable Everett Mitchell talk about race relations here in Madison. We will meet with his congregation at Christ the Solid Rock Church. These are opportunities to LISTEN, to actually hear and see through the eyes of our brothers and sisters. We will then have the opportunity to process those two meetings before worship on March 25. 
We have two opportunities during Lent to listen to music during our Chapel Music Concert Series. Bryan Sirchio on February 16 at 7:00pm, and David Landau on March 16 at 7:00pm.  What are we hearing in the music? Are we hearing the voice of God, the voice of our neighbors? Three Lenten Vespers services will be held, February 21, 28, and March 21.  What will we hear in the voices or music during those services?
In our everyday lives we will have the chance to listen to our neighbors, our friends, and our family.  Listening is not an easy task.  It will take intentionality, because all too often we feel the need to share what we consider to be the great wisdom we have gained.  God, grant us the patience to quiet ourselves and to listen.  

~ Eldonna Hazen

Posted on February 13, 2018 at 10:27 am in Featured Content.

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