In his book on fasting, Dr. Scot McKnight calls Christians to an embodied spirituality. He writes, “We worship God and we love God in our bodies and with our bodies and in concrete, physical, tangible, palpable ways.” (Fasting p.2) In other words, the ways we use our bodies or do not use our bodies in our spiritual practices matter. We are not a soul living in a shell. We are physical and spiritual beings. In his book, “The Screwtape Letters,” CS Lewis points this out. He writes, “Humans are amphibians… half spirit and half animal… as spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time.” It’s interesting, but perhaps not surprising, that in another section of “The Screwtape Letters,” Lewis discusses the importance of kneeling for prayers. The things we do with our physical bodies matter in our spiritual lives. Read More »
Posts in category Lent
During Holy week we have a very special worship service on Holy Saturday called the Easter Vigil where people are baptized and others join the church. It is the evening before Easter Day and in the service is the very first proclamation of Easter. Why do we do this service and why do we baptize on that day?
Vigil comes from the Latin word, vigilia, which means “wakefulness” and is a time when people stay awake through the night to anticipate or prepare for what is coming the next day. Perhaps you have heard of or seen a candle light vigil, where people gather carrying candles after sunset in order to support a cause. In the same sense, a vigil in the church is a gather of the church in order to prepare for a specific event. In this case, it is the gathering of the faithful to prepare for the celebration of the Resurrection at Easter. The tradition of the Easter Vigil is an ancient one. I have read writings from Easter vigil traditions in the 5th Century (400’s A.D.) and it is a powerful time of worship and celebration of the work of Christ. Read More »
This is the sermon for the Palm Sunday. This is the beginning of Holy Week – the week that defines our faith. It is a time to be reflective and to contemplate what went on in Jesus’ life and death during this week. This week we contemplate the Triumphal Entry in Luke 19:28-40.
On Maundy Thursday this year, we will have a foot washing service following our Agape meal. Foot washing has not been a practice in our culture and is not only foreign to us, but uncomfortable. Why do we do it then?
The most straight forward reason for having a foot washing service is that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the Thursday before he was crucified. He did this in order to demonstrate to them that they ought to serve one another as he served them. Washing another’s feet was a menial task given only to servants. It was for those in the lower class. It was unthinkable for Jesus, the teacher, to do this to his followers. They were shocked. Peter wanted to stop him from doing it. Yet Jesus washed their feet. As disciples who follow Jesus, various Christian traditions have ceremonially followed Jesus’ amazing servant actions and washed feet themselves. Read More »
During the seasons of Advent and Lent, I wear a robe when I am leading worship services. The robe is referred to as an ‘alb,’ and the one I wear is flax colored. Wearing the alb sets apart these seasons as different during the year and draws attention to the fact that Advent and Lent are a different time. They are set apart. This is why I wear a robe.
The alb also covers up my clothes. It is a simple garment as well, and with these two aspects it is symbolic of humility. This aspect is important to me especially during the times of Advent and Lent as they are periods of fasting and repentance. I appreciate the seasonal focus on my own need for repentance and forgiveness. I appreciate the opportunity to be shaped by the humility of our savior. The robe reminds me of these things. That is why I wear a robe. Read More »
Lent is traditionally a time of prayer and fasting for many in the Christian tradition, especially those who follow any sort of liturgical calendar.
What is fasting?
Fasting normally refers to the practice of not eating, or at least of not eating some foods for a period of time. Fasting can refer to eating nothing at all, or not eating meat, dairy, and eggs. Protestants have more recently eaten according to the “Daniel Plan” which is a diet of sorts taken from the book of Daniel. This can be fasting if done for spiritual growth purposes. Other times people will extend the term “fasting” to include non-food items, such as fasting from social media or television. This sort of “fasting” can be an opportunity to turn from something and towards God. Read More »