Vol 5 No. 8 Lent

Dear Folks,

While it may not be familiar to many of us, the language of faith for 23 million Canadians is the language of the church year or cycle.  This pattern can become repetitive, banal or over-ritualized. It can also be a meaningful framework for recalling all of the mysteries and gifts of God throughout the year.  I heard of one church who started using the Christian year or cycle and a learned, wise and otherwise careful church member announced that the “church was leaving the denomination”.   Nonsense.   If we are not at least aware and cognisant of this historical faith language we reject an opportunity missiologically to welcome and embrace many of our fellow Canadians who are alienated from their church homes.  I ask several questions of innovations in our churches; are the scriptural? (Lent passes the test in that it is not opposed to either the content nor direction in Scripture.) Is it harmful?  (no, used wisely, certainly not), and finally can it be helpful? (yes, welcoming and using culturally, incarnational language),

I have attached some readings from the Gathering for Worship, Lent Section, pg. 371-374.  As well, here is the link for the William Carey Institute which has prepared an Online Devotional for Lent, “The Mystery of the Cross”, www.williamcarey.ca.  You will also find attachments to this Newsletter that will give you patterns being followed in two of our churches, as well as helpful links to Lenten material on the web.


In Christ,




Lent: Following Jesus


The period of Lent has traditionally been a period of self-examination,

penitence and preparation for Holy Week and Easter. In many churches,

worship will follow the story of Jesus and the approach to Jerusalem and

offer a continuing engagement with the promise and challenge of discipleship.

In prayer we can follow Jesus’ story and pledge our commitment,

seeing the church as a community of disciples.


Deuteronomy 30.19–20; Psalms 51.1–4; 51.10–11; 103.8, 10–12;

Isaiah 1.18; 30.15; 55.6–7; Joel 2.13; Micah 6.6, 8; Matthew 16.24–26;

Romans 5.6–8; Ephesians 6.18; Philippians 4.6–7; Colossians 1.24–27;

Hebrews 10.19–22; 1 John 1.8–9.




Lord, we remember the depth of your love for us,

and we repent of our half-hearted discipleship.


We have been called to deny ourselves:

forgive us for putting self-interest

before the interests of your kingdom;

forgive us that Christ’s Lordship in our hearts

has been challenged by our ambition, our appetites,

our desires, and our needs;

forgive us for the times when self-interest

hindered our care for others.


Lord, we have been called to carry a cross:

forgive us for complaining when it has weighed heavily upon us;

forgive us that, having received so much,

we have sacrificed so little;

forgive us for the limits we have set to Christian love;

forgive us that we have settled for mediocrity,

resisting the fire and passion of Christ’s love upon the cross




Lord Jesus Christ

you have walked where we walk

and now you help us in our weakness:

blessed be your name


Lord Jesus Christ,

you have been tempted as we have

and now you come to help us in our danger:

blessed be your name.


Lord Jesus Christ,

you have suffered for us

and now you help us when we reach our wit’s end:

blessed be your name.


Lord Jesus Christ,

you were deserted and betrayed,

and now you are with us when all others have gone:

blessed be your name.


Lord Jesus Christ,

companion Christ,

friend and saviour,

we adore you,

we love you,

we need you:

help us to follow




Lord of Lent, come to your Church

and ask us your hard questions.

Are we faithfully proclaiming your gospel?

Are we demonstrating in our life together

the justice of your kingdom?

Have we welcomed the weak

and given prominence to the poor?


Come to your Church

to spring-clean our ways of life,

our structures and priorities.

Point out to us the cobwebs,

the dirt, the extravagance and the waste.

Create in us a clean heart, O God,

and renew a right spirit within us.


Lord of Lent,

renew our lives.


Lord of Lent, come to the nations and challenge our idolatries.

Spring-clean the sordid cupboard of this world’s false gods.

Sweep out the false pride,

the self-seeking, the deceit, corruption and lies.

May the kingdoms of this earth

seek justice, peace and the integrity of creation.

May we look beyond immediate advantage

to seek the common good,

and be drawn to it, as a lark to the dawn.

Especially we ask for your cleansing hand in …


Lord of Lent,

renew our lives.


Lord of Lent, look with compassion

on those whose minds are full of anxiety and bewilderment.

We remember people who are lonely,

imprisoned, despairing and humiliated.

Clear away from them all unnecessary feelings

of fear, guilt and self-hatred.

Assure them that when you spring-clean our hearts and minds

you know what you are doing,

for you have been there, one of us,

and you are to be trusted.


Lord of Lent,

renew our lives.


For ourselves, Lord,

we pray that your spring-cleaning

would be thorough and true this Lent.

Show us clearly these effortless sins

we no longer even notice,

and help us to address the sins

which sit on our shoulders every day,

our constant companions.

Give us both discipline in dealing with some faults

and gentleness in dealing with others,

and help us to know the difference.

Create in us a clean heart, O God,

and renew a right spirit within us.


Lord of Lent,

renew our lives,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Teach us to Pray


Lord, lead us into the wilderness

that we may meet you

in the flame that burns but does not destroy.

Help us to put aside our business and stress

and to rediscover silence.

Help us to shut out the clamouring voices

that are around us and inside us,

and listen only for your voice.


Lord, teach us to pray.

Through prayer,

lead us into a deeper communion with you

and nurture within us

a greater concern for your world.


In silence and prayer,

help us to find you

and to be found by you,

that we might be remade

in the likeness of Jesus Christ,

in whose name we pray.