A Prayerful Process for Lent and Eastertide 2019
The great 90 days of Lent and Eastertide have often been conceived as a continuous whole. Recently most traditions have separated them into a period of preparation and then a time for… what? Lent, for most of us, is looked upon as a time to prepare for the renewal of our baptismal promises at Easter. But our baptism is not a past event that is simply remembered and renewed but rather a present reality! We are baptised, not we were baptised!
The 50 days of Easter should be a real celebration of the fact that, through the waters of new birth, we have been plunged dramatically into the Paschal Mystery. We have been made part of the living, vital Body of Christ, alive and active as it carries on the witness and ministry of Jesus. In the early years of the Church Lent was the time for final preparation for baptism (and what we now call confirmation, followed by first communion) which was only administered at Easter. During the 40 days of Lent those preparing for the new life of, and in, Christ shared in a time of deliberate and intensive fasting and prayer. Following their initiation at Easter, the next 50 days was the time when they sat at the feet of the teacher (usually the bishop) to be taught all about the life of discipleship in the Church and the responsibilities that they had shouldered through and by their baptism.
As the local Church of The Murray, we will use the 90 days in 2019 to prepare and pray for our annual celebration of the Paschal Mystery: through the renewal of our baptismal promises on Easter Day we will travel on during Eastertide towards a recommitment to be the Body that we will make at Pentecost. An ongoing theme for the 90 days will be how we might change one thing to make a difference to our personal and corporate life of witness.
When we capitalise something, we give it value. Even grammatically there is debate about which words should have capital letters! Most of us would use a capital for the first letter of the word, God. We do so because he is central to our life and existence. We capitalise his name.
During Lent and Eastertide we will consider how we need to change the capital in terms of what is central and important for us as the local Church seeking to be faithful to our call to be the Body of Christ in this part of South Australia. The Lent course and things associated with it are detailed on other pages/below. For two weeks following Easter the finance committee will help Mission Partnerships and their constituent parts address partnership budgets and the need to plan for growth towards...
Then the following three Sundays can be used to think through how we, individually and corporately, can change one thing (at least!) in the areas of:
Sunday 19th May the use of time concerning the new commandment
Sunday 26th May the use of talents/gifts concerning the gift of peace
Sunday 2nd June the use of treasure/resources concerning the showing forth of Jesus
All of this intentionally directed towards resourcing our mission and ministry by changing the capital of our discipleship – what needs to be really at the heart of my life? Is it so? What are, or should be, the essential characteristics of the life of each worshipping community? How can we make it so?
How can the family of the Diocese share responsibility and accountability for the whole mission and ministry of our Local Church now and into God’s wonderful future?
On the Feast of Pentecost each person will be asked to ponder our call to proclaim the gospel in every language and place and also be offered the chance to take away a pledge form to be completed concerning personal promises made in order that we can use one voice to profess one faith right around the Diocese.
On Trinity Sunday the forms handed out at Pentecost are returned for an act of thanksgiving to God who calls us to be one with him, now and for ever.