Richard G. Leavitt, Senior Pastor, March 2017

It’s hard to believe that the season of Lent starts as soon as we turn the calendar to March. Time rushes on and very soon comes our annual reminder that “From dust we come, and to dust we shall return.” On March 1st, we will offer an Ash Wednesday service at 7:30 p.m. with communion, prayer and meditation, and the receiving of ashes. It’s an appropriate start to our spiritual preparation in Lent as we walk the journey of discipleship through the 40 days, into Holy Week, and on to Easter.

In addition to Ash Wednesday, we are also planning a three-session Lenten Book Discussion series with a light soup and bread supper preceding it. This year our devotional book will be Grounded (Finding God in the World), by Diana Butler Bass. Diana Bass is an acclaimed and thoughtful writer who has studied the church and knows well that the church is changing. Yet, rather than bemoaning these changes, she celebrates the new ways folks are growing in faith. Instead of a traditional distant God up there in heaven, people are discovering a more intimate sense of the sacred that is very close at hand and with us in the world. Grounded explores this cultural shift and what it means to “discover and embrace God everywhere in the world around us—in the soil, the water, the sky, in our homes and neighborhoods, and in the global commons.” She points out that for many folks, “faith is no longer a matter of mountaintop experience or institutional practice; instead, people are connecting with God through the environment in which we live.” Bass helps us pay attention to the sacred around us. “She cites news, trends, data, and pop culture, weaves in spiritual texts and ancient traditions, and pulls it all together through stories of her own and others’ spiritual journeys.” It’s a hopeful book, with a fresh look at faith for a new day.

The plan is to gather for three Wednesday evenings in Lent—March 8th, March 22nd, and March 29th. Folks who would like to gather for a light supper of soup and bread will meet at 6:30 p.m. and our discussion will begin at 7:15 p.m. By 8:30 we’ll try to have everyone heading for home. Participants will be asked to purchase a copy of the book when they sign up, for a cost of $12. We will have books available, but in the event that we run out, we can order you a copy in 2-3 days. Even if you can’t attend every session, I’m sure you’ll find the reading thought provoking and inspiring. The book also includes a 40-day Lenten devotional guide based on quotes from Bass’s latest work. Please sign up on Sunday morning, in the church office, or on the church’s web site and indicate if you are planning to attend the soup and bread supper and if you would like a copy of the book.

I was especially drawn to this work because our new mission statement includes the phrase, “Grounded in God’s love.” Diana Bass invites readers to join this emerging spiritual movement in order to find a new and revitalized expression of faith and to help change the world. We hope to see you there!

Grace and peace,