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Cultivating & Letting Go

Ash Wednesday 3/6/2019 – Good Friday 4/19/2019

Cultivate (verb): to prepare and use for the raising of crops; to foster the growth of; to improve by labor, care, or study; to refine; to further; to encourage.

Let go (verb): relinquish one’s grip on someone or something.

Lent is a season of spiritual gardening, of inviting God to unearth in us what lies fallow, what needs to be tended, and what needs to die for new life to emerge. This Lent, we’re embracing the literal and spiritual practices of cultivating and letting go.

The poetry, art and inspiration for this series comes from A Sanctified Art LLC. https://sanctifiedart.org/. Used with permission.

Wed March 6 (Ash Wednesday at Noon & 7 p.m.) – Cultivating Interdependence & Letting Go of Isolation – Isaiah 58:1-12, Psalm 51:1-17 [Not Published]

Sun March 10 – Cultivating Rest & Letting Go of Exhaustion – Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Luke 4:1-13
Sun March 17 – Cultivating Feelings & Letting Go of Denial – Psalm 27, Luke 13:31-35
Sun March 24 – Cultivating Healing & Letting Go of Haste – Isaiah 55:1-9, Luke 13:1-9
Sun March 31 – Cultivating Grace & Letting Go of Judgment – 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15:1-3,11b-32
Sun April 7 – Cultivating Compassion & Letting Go of Discomfort – Isaiah 43:16-21, John 12:1-8
Sun April 14 (Palm Sunday) – Cultivating Acceptance & Letting Go of Comprehension – Luke 19:28-40, Luke 22: 39-46

Fri April 19 (Good Friday at 7 p.m.) – Cultivating Resilience & Letting Go of Betrayal – Psalm 22, John 18:1-19:42

Cultivating Grace & Letting Go of Judgment

Cultivating Grace & Letting Go of Judgment

We know this parable that we have just heard read as the parable of the prodigal son. The word prodigal means wastefully or recklessly extravagant. The younger son wastefully spends all his money. The father recklessly and extravagantly forgives his younger son. And the older son? He sits in judgement of them both. So, is God like the prodigal father dispensing grace lavishly or the oldest son who holds onto grudges and judges strictly? I think all of us here would say that God is like the loving father in the parable. As I thought about our cultivating and letting go topic, this spoke to me about our need to let go of judgment and to cultivate grace for one another. In this sermon, Pastor Joan shared (with permission) a version of the parable written by United Church of Canada minister, Rev. Catherine MacDonald, that was told from the perspective of the prodigal son’s mother. Sorry, we do not have a transcript or recording for this sermon. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15:1-3,11b-32)

Cultivating Healing & Letting Go of Haste

Cultivating Healing & Letting Go of Haste

Today as I was reflecting on this fig tree parable, what came to mind is our need for haste. I tend to move hastily and quickly onward and just get on with the next thing on the to-do list. Jesus in this parable reminds me that the hasty thing of just cutting down the tree or completing my to-do list might not be best solution. Things that are worthwhile take time. Healing takes time. (Isaiah 55:1-9, Luke 13:1-9)

Cultivating Feelings & Letting Go of Denial

Cultivating Feelings & Letting Go of Denial

Luke described Jesus’ desire to gather us together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings. This is a very feminine way of describing God. God as a mother hen offering us protection. As I thought about this, I began to ponder stereotypical descriptions of women versus men. I thought about how women can express their feelings much more than men. Perhaps this feminine God wants all of us, women and men, to express our full range of humanity including our innermost feelings. (Psalm 27, Luke 13:31-35)