Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What I will be posting for Lent

With the help of some parishioners, I put together a Lenten devotional booklet for Good Shepherd. Today, I will post the explanatory page. Starting tomorrow, I will begin posting each day's very short reflection. I hope they are useful to some of you for your churches. They are written to help a congregation identify God's vision, confess the ways in which the church falls short, and turn together in the direction that God desires.

“WE confess…”

We pray from The Book of Common Prayer. All that we say, we offer with one voice, as one body in Christ. Our General Confessions are written this way: "We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins," "we confess that we have sinned..."

For Lent, I encourage us to examine our life as a congregation, looking for those ways in which we are not "Helping One Another Put Jesus First." I ask that we confess these things and turn instead to greater unity as “parts of Christ’s body, working for the common good"
(I Corinthians 12).

Lent reminds us that Jesus endured 40 days of spiritual testing to prepare for his God-given work. We keep Lent on 40 days from Ash Wednesday thru Holy Saturday, not including the five Sundays which are there to refresh us along the way.

This booklet contains 40 short reflections, one for each day of Lent. There are ten devoted to each of our parish priorities, Worship; Spiritual Growth; Pastoral Care and Service to Others. No one of us will have an answer to every question. But we can find answers together if we open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit.

“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the
observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance;
by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and
meditating on God's holy Word. And, to make a right beginning
of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now
kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.”
The Book of Common Prayer, Liturgy of Ash Wednesday

Fr. Timothy Fountain
February, 2010


Karen said...

I'm so excited to read this! I pray this will be a wonderful season of prayer for you and your parish, but also a great blessing to hundreds of readers throughout cyberspace.

What a wonderful example to many pastors and congregations. Hallelujah! (while I can still say it!! ;-) )

I've given you a big shout out at Lent & Beyond.

May your Lent be a wonderful season of drawing near to the Lord and learning His heart and desires for you and your parish,


TLF+ said...

Thanks, Karen, for the encouragement and for being such an advocate of our Advocate's inspiration to pray!

Georgia said...

Fr. Tim, I found it very helpful on Sunday to pray the prayer of confession in the first person
...not hedging, no hemming and hawing, but owning and admitting my own sin
...not hiding myself in the crowd
...not diluting my own culpability in the collective form of the confession.

TLF+ said...

Hi, Georgia,

We are expected to examine our own consciences before receiving Communion, as St. Paul teaches and the Book of Common Prayer teaches (at least for the moment - the "open communion" nuts are putting souls in danger).

Personally, I think that most people who attempt to confess at the General Confession are not properly prepared. Knowing you, I'm sure you did some good prep - but most folks don't and most clergy don't leave enough silence for it to take place before storming into the prayer.

That's why I'm trying to provoke some reflection around the General Confession - for people to get in touch with how the whole congregation falls short, which in turn asks each to think "how am I contributing to that and how can I amend my life?"

I would agree with that the General Confession can sink to the level of, "Yeah, I guess we kinda sorta need Jesus in a general sorta way."