Lent 2021 – Opening Our Lives

Gracious God, open the eyes of our hearts, and let the light of your truth flood in. Shine your light on the hope you are calling us to embrace. Reveal to us the glorious riches you are preparing as our inheritance. Amen.
(prayer based on Ephesians 1:18)

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 17. Our theme this year is “Opening Our Lives.”

So, let me ask: how are you doing? How are your coping skills holding up? It’s tough, isn’t it, to carry on. Here are a few tips I’ve gleaned from a variety of articles and from my own reflection to help us open our lives to God.

Pray more and more often. Choose something—the sight of a bird, a memory, a frequent task—even washing dishes works—and whenever you see or remember or are doing that, pause, take a deep breath, stretch, and offer a prayer of gratitude or simply wait a moment in silence in the presence of God.

Take some time each day to get outside yourself. Call a family member, friend, or church member. Send a card or note. Listen to your favorite music. Read a book that takes you to another time or place. Resolve to focus your Lenten discipline this year around service, giving yourself to others. You’ll find a variety of suggestions in this Sentinel.

Get some fresh air and sunshine. Sit by a window. Mask up and walk around the block. Come on over and walk around the Courtyard here at church. From a safe distance, wave at those you meet and let your eyes smile.

Connect with others. Soak up their love and support. You’ll find a variety of opportunities in this Sentinel and on our church webpage.

I’d love to hear from you about what is and isn’t working for YOU! We’re in this together. And not only that—God is with us. May the Spirit of the Living God open our hearts and fill us with truth, light, and hope.

Peace be with you,

Rev. Patricia Farris

Ash Wednesday Service

If you missed the February 17 Ash Wednesday Service, you may still watch it on Facebook, our website and our YouTube channel.

The 2021 Lenten Devotionals

The Spiritual Formation Council invites you to read your Lenten Devotional online, which starts on the first day in Lent – Ash Wednesday, February 17. The devotional is written by the First UMC community and provides a wonderful opportunity to share Lent with family and friends. This year we focus on the theme “Opening Our Lives,” and reflect on this passage: Loving God, in our sufferings and joys, in our relationships and daily lives, we ask that your kingdom come. Open our eyes to your presence, open our ears to your call, open our hearts to your love, open our ways to your will, open our actions to your compassion, open our pain to your peace, and, in doing so, open our world to your hope. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

*This year, the Holy Week Devotionals (March 28 – April 4) will also be made into Audio files as recorded by the writers (subject to change.)

SUBSCRIBE to the Lenten Devotionals here

Gospel of Mark Bible Study with Rev. Larry Young

A Lenten Bible study on the Gospel of Mark will be offered on Zoom beginning February 16, led by Rev. Larry Young. Mark’s Gospel is the earliest record of Jesus’ life and teachings, so it is the nearest in time to Jesus’ lifetime. While much of Mark is repeated in Matthew and Luke, Mark has his own distinctive emphases and perspectives. It is the Gospel most likely to be used in worship through most of 2021. All are welcome to this study, including friends of members.
Duplicate sessions will be held on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. for about an hour each. You may sign up for the class by emailing Larry at lyoung@ljyoung.net, and he will send you the Zoom link for the class.
Gospel of Mark Bible Study: Tuesdays through Lent, begins February 16, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., via Zoom

How to Keep a Holy Lent: Spiritual Practice Guide downloadable card

Click here for a downloadable Lenten guide called “How to Keep a Holy Lent: Spiritual Practice Guide.” Print it out at home, or save it to your desktop or phone for easy reference. Each day includes a suggested tip for observing Lent. Some examples include: Day 11: Call an old friend; Day 22: Tell someone what you are grateful for; Day 39: Pray for peace.