• lenten journal: from my church to you . . .

    by  • March 23, 2014 • lenten journal, pilgrim ucc • 4 Comments

    My offering today consists of parts of our worship service at Pilgrim: the call to worship, the prayer of confession, and our benediction. I was moved by the words and wanted to pass them along.

    Call to Worship

    Lent is the journey into the acceptance of mystery, a time of self discovery designed to lead us to face the division within us: between what God calls us to be and what, in fact, we are. During these days we grow towards integrating these two truths.
    It is a journey about homecoming: coming home to selfhood; and coming home once again to the call to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.
    It is a journey inside through spiritual exercises. They stretch us, they tone us up. God invites our total involvement through an interplay of all that we are: through our bodies, heads, hearts, wills; through the coming together of all our scatteredness and fragmentation.
    It is a journey done in stages: stages of time, stages of experience, stagers allowing ourselves to be open to God’s grace, which brings us to new attitudes and to new hearts.
    It is a journey about growing in mystery. To walk in mystery, we have to look for hidden depths. As we continue to question more deeply, mystery grows stronger. We come in touch with “a light that shines in the dark, a light the darkness cannot overpower.”
    In this journey of self discovery, as we come to be in touch with our deepest longings and open ourselves to God, to others, and to the world, two longings meet: ours and God’s.

    Prayer of Confession

    I confess my sin because I believe sin is real. I believe sin is the real brokenness of relationship with others, with the earth, with myself, and with God.
    I confess my sins because I participate in systems that break people. I participate in systems that break our environment. I participate in systems that break our relationship with God. And I believe sin is more than passive participation in systems.
    I confess my sins because, consciously and unconsciously, I cause brokenness. Sometimes, I sin because the choice I make is the lesser of two evils. Sometimes I sin because I’m just selfish, jealous, lazy, proud, impatient, scared, or just too tired to care. I confess my sins because that act of confession — that act of prayer — calls me to accountability and reminds me I am not just a sinner. I am also a reconciler, a peacemaker, a healer.
    I have a responsibility to try and heal what I have broken, which is often hard to do and that’s why I also confess my sings to remind me I cannot do it on my own. I need help. I need grace, community; I need God.
    I confess my sins to be homes before God about who I am. I confess my sins, not to make myself feel guilty, not to put on sackcloth and cover myself in ashes. I confess my sins so I can learn to love myself in all my wholeness, so I can learn to love others in all their wholeness as God loves us.

    Benediction
    (written by Michael Josephson) — Ginger used this recently at the funeral of a lifelong friend.

    Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
    There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, or days.
    All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
    Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
    It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
    Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
    So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
    The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
    It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
    It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
    Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
    So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought but what you built; not what you got but what you gave.
    What will matter is not your success but your significance.
    What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
    What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage,
    or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example.
    What will matter is not your competence but your character.
    What will matter is not how many people you knew but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
    What will matter is not your memories but the memories that live in those who loved you.
    What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what.
    Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
    It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
    Choose to live a life that matters.

    I hope you find something in these words that speaks to you.

    Peace,
    Milton

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    4 Responses to lenten journal: from my church to you . . .

    1. March 23, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      I love this…especially the benediction…I’m making a copy of it to remind myself of these things 🙂

    2. Terry Allebaugh
      March 24, 2014 at 6:35 am

      Each one, the call to worship, the confession, the benediction, full of rich and meaningful language, calling me to who I am in the quiet of monday morning.I give thanks for your ear attuned to what is important.

    3. March 24, 2014 at 7:45 am

      Your Lenten journal entry today is going into MY journal. I love the words of renewal and self reflection. Thank you Milton.

    4. Julie Cochran
      March 24, 2014 at 9:49 am

      I am inspired, comforted and strengthened by your words. God bless you and Ginger for your shared ministry. Love and hugs, Julie Cochran

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