When the Lenten liturgists got together a few weeks ago to decide what the theme of our Lenten journey would be for this year, this text from Ezekiel stood out immediately to them. This story, made visually memorable by the Cross of Dry Bones that has hung in the Wellington sanctuary in Lenten seasons past, describes the prophet Ezekiel’s journey with God into a valley filled with scattered dry bones. God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, to tell the bones God’s promise that they will live and breathe again. And Ezekiel does, and the bones become covered with flesh again, and the multitude rises up from the ground, living and breathing.
Words have the power to move us. As people of faith, as followers of Jesus, it’s vital that we speak about our faith and our faith journeys with confidence and with love. Whether it’s being able to speak about where we hear God calling us, as individuals or as a congregation, or how we understand Jesus’ march toward the cross and the role it plays in the justice work that we do, being able to speak our faith stories can add depth and meaning to our lives.
In this Lenten study we will tackle together some big questions of faith, God, Jesus and hope — and work out what they mean to us individually and as a church. This study will work with the Living the Questions DVD curriculum to help guide our discussion. Living the Questions features video clips of religious scholars talking about matters of faith, inviting participants into discussion. Optional reading materials will be provided for those who wish to include a weekly reading plan.
The study will be 6 p.m. Wednesday nights during Lent (March 12, 19, 26, and April 2 and 9), beginning with dinner in the downstairs fellowship hall, with the study following at 6:30 p.m. in the sanctuary.
This Lenten study comes out of some of the strategic planning our church has been doing, as we work out together who we are as a faith community and — more importantly — who God is calling us to be. As in years past, we’ll connect what we learn on Wednesday nights with the Sunday morning worship. This Lenten journey is one we’re taking together as we move forward toward the Easter resurrection. With this study, we move forward in the hope that when God calls us to speak of God’s promise to the dry bones we meet in our lives, we’ll know what to say, and we’ll say it with strength and beauty and life.
So come on this journey with us. The dry bones are waiting for us.
Week 1: March 12, 2014: An Invitation to the Journey: This week we’re looking at the role that doubt, certainty and questions play in our faith lives. Join us on this walk through the Lenten labyrinth.
Week 2: March 19, 2014: Who Is God to Me?: The focus this week is on thinking theologically, about the ways we understand God and how the words we use for God change our understanding of God. Take part in our reflection about who God is to you.
Week 3: March 23, 2014: Our Relationship with Creation: This week the center of our study is about Creation, or the “how we came to be” part of the Christian story. The Living the Questions study reminds us that the “how” question is also connected to another question, “What is the meaning of life?” And part of the answer to that question is the way that we are related to God. Share your reflections about your relationship with Creation.
Week 4: April 2, 2014: Who is Jesus to Me?: The Gospels found in the Bible don’t show a singular vision of Jesus, but the different understandings of him that arose out of different communities. Our understandings about Jesus change depending on our time, place and circumstances. So who is Jesus for us, as Wellington? Or for each of us individually? Join us in our reflections and share your thoughts with us.
Week 5: April 9, 2014: The Challenges That Face Us: As we prepare to end our Lenten journey, we begin thinking about who we are as a community, how we show care for one another, and what message we want to speak to the world. What is our message and our vision of Christianity, and how might we begin to send it out to others — and with others? Join us on the journey.