A Ministry of Grace in the Heart of Andover

Lent 2017 | No Turning Back

Lent- it’s a long 40 day journey of spiritual investment.  It is that period of the church year when we set aside time for deeper moments of prayer, worship, fasting, acts of charity, scriptural meditation and Bible reading. Why? Because these special moments can help us step away from the things which hinder us in our spiritual journeys so we can better prepare ourselves for the celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection on Easter.

As we journey this Lent, we join Jesus on his journey as he completes his ministry of teaching and healing in Galilee, and sets his face to go to Jerusalem to do one thing: suffer and die on a cross to make visible God’s promise of salvation and love for all to see.  For Jesus, it is not an easy journey! It is filled with great suffering, pain and distress. Yet there through the journey, there is no turning back or letting himself be side-tracked.  Jesus is resolute. He is determined, and there is no turning back!

Ash Wednesday

Our Lenten Journey begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1st with two worship opportunities: 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.  These worship services will offer turning moments – a challenge to turn away from anything which hinders us from living as authentic and faithful followers of the Christ. This is why on Ash Wednesday we begin with repentance. We admit we often turn back from following Jesus authentically and give in to self-centeredness to pursue the wrong things. To publically admit our shallow commitment to follow Jesus, ashes are marked on our foreheads and words are spoken: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”  It is the time we seek to hear again God’s righteousness, forgiveness, and love.

Wednesday Services

In addition to weekend worship, there will be two worship opportunities each Wednesday: a brief 1pm Service of the Word and a 7:00 p.m. Wednesday Evening Service featuring the Holden Village Vespers. We will watch the powerful Nooma video series taught by Rob Bell that invites us to ask deep spiritual questions and reflect upon the insightful and life-changing perspective of Jesus.

Acts of Service

One of the most meaningful ways we follow Jesus during Lent will be putting our faith into action through several Outreach Projects:

  • NOISY OFFERINGS will support Grace 4Rakai. The funds will help build a school for children in Rakai, Uganda
  • PACK MEALS at Feed My Starving Children every Friday during Lent (or join us just one Friday) as we pack life-saving meals for children around the world.
  • SHOE CUTTING PARTY will be held at each Wed. night Lenten Supper as we cut fabric to make shoes for children in Africa through Sole Hope Ministry.

Spiritual Practices

In order to deepen our Lenten journey, we are asking everyone at Grace to consider the follow:

  • Make Weekend Worship and Wednesday mid-day or Vespers services a high priority.
  • Join us for Lenten Suppers on Wednesday March 8-April 5. Enjoy fellowship and community around a simple meal and cut materials for Sole Hope.
  • Use the Bible readings.
  • Commit to spend an extra 10 minutes in daily prayer and devotional reading.

We invite you to the journey to the cross to experience again God’s radical love shown in Jesus. May this be a time to be challenged! May it be a journey when we are assured of God’s forgiveness and love. But most of all, may it be a time where we can learn anew that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God and celebrate the empty tomb of Easter morning.