Here I Stand: Defining Our Identity, Becoming Community

by Wes Pitts

 

Lent is a 40 day season (not counting Sundays!) of spiritual practices meant to strengthen our spiritual lives and prepare us for the celebration of Easter. Common  practices include prayer, fasting and “self-examination,” or honest self-evaluation.

In the early church, Lent was a time of preparation for the celebration of baptism at  the Easter Vigil, the night before Easter, as communities waited for the sunrise of a  new day. In many communities of faith it remains a time to equip and nurture  candidates for baptism and confirmation, as well as to reflect deeply on questions  about why we follow God in the Way of Jesus, and how we might best do that.

“Confession” is a word that carries lots of baggage. The word “confession” and other manifestations of it are typically associated with wrongdoing and have a very negative connotation, but in the early Christian tradition the meaning was much more positive.

In the early church, confession meant openly affirming, declaring, acknowledging  or taking a stand for what one believes to be true, regardless of what others may believe or the persecution that may occur from taking such a stand.

During the season of Lent at Grace Commons, we’re taking a deeper look at what it means to be a community that confesses, or professes, certain things. What would we declare to the world about who and what we are, what we believe, and what we resolve to do?

 

The spiritual practice schedule for Sunday Gatherings for the season of Lent will be:

 

Feb. 17 - Dinner Church: Why Stand?

Feb. 24 - Poetry Vespers: What Do We Stand For?

Mar. 3 - Holy Conversation: Believing in Ourselves

Mar. 10 - Taizé Vespers: Believing in Grace

Mar. 17 - Dinner Church: When Our Beliefs are Challenged

Mar. 24 (Palm Sunday) - Poetry Vespers: Finding Our Voices

Mar. 28 (Maundy Thursday) - The Courage to Speak in the Darkness

Mar. 31 (Easter Sunday) - Here We Stand