Easter and Lent comprise the most important season of the year for a Christian, even more than Christmas, as it marks the reasons why Christ came to us. This year Epworth has planned many services and activities surrounding the Lenten season, from our annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper to our Easter morning services.
Lent is one of the seasons in the church year that sets aside a time for us to reflect on our relationship with God, and what we might change in our lives in order to follow Christ more closely. This year for our sermon series, we will focus on the many shadowed places in our lives that distract us from our call to Discipleship: isolation, temptation, self-righteousness, ignorance and more. Some of these shadows are cast because of the world we live in, and some we cast ourselves. During this 40 days, we will consider how we might order our lives so that we turn away from the Shadows and towards the Light……
"The Valley of Shadows" Lenten Sermon Series, based on the book "Shadows, Darkness and Dawn
Feb. 18 - "The Shadow of Abundance"
The point of fasting is not because the things we fast from are bad. Fasting puts things into perspective. It creates empty places where God can create and we can grow in our relationship with God.
Feb. 22 - "The Shadow of Temptation"
Reason for Lent. Reformation threw out Lenten practices because they wanted to be free. Lent not about being regimented or constrained or legalistic. (that’s now what the commandment are about) it’s about learning the structures of true freedom. It is about learning who we are and what life lived in Christian community looks like. The wilderness is a time for us to discover who we are in God. That’s how the wilderness functions in the OT.
March 1 - "The Shadow of Ignorance"
Nicodemus comes at night. “night” or darkness in John is about more than just time, it’s about a lack of understanding. Jesus brings life and shines light in the darkness. How can it be?
March 8 - "The Shadow of Isolation"
There are lots of people who feel marginalized. People who are excluded, isolated, rejected. We have been there but we have also done it to others. Jesus intentionally seeks those people out to draws them into the circle
March 15 - "The Shadow of Self-Righteousness"
What you see makes a difference. Sometimes we choose not to see what God is doing. We choose instead to focus on legalism or theology. Jesus opens our eyes to see everything more clearly.
March 22 - "The Shadow of Death"
Mary asks, “where were you when we needed you?!” the faithful have always experienced times when God doesn’t seem to show up or answer our pleas for help. ‘the Shadow of death” are there places where it seems like God doesn’t are up. God’s people have always asked those questions and we should. Jesus doesn’t answer the questions but he also doesn’t walk away. In the scripture the community doesn’t walk away either. If we want to be like Jesus, we can’t way away when others ask those questions.
March 29 - "The Shadow of Triumph"
People expected Jesus to be a triumphant military conqueror. The people wanted to be free of military oppression, they believed Jesus could bring them that freedom through military might. Jesus does bring freedom, but like the commandment, shows us the structure of freedom through his teachings. The powers that be thought they triumphed in the crucifixion. Sometimes it seems like death and brokenness have the final say. Jesus came to free us, not just from external oppression, but also from internal oppression and brokenness.
April 2 - Holy Thursday/Maundy Thursday
April 5 - Easter, "The Rising Dawn"
Jesus shines light into the shadows. References the ones we talked about. Easter is the true triumph not Good Friday. Worst thing is never the last (Buechner) We are assured that the sun comes up every morning, so is our ability to overcome the shadows of our lives assured, because of life death, resurrection of Jesus. His victory assures our own.
Feb. 17 - Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
5 & 6:30pm, Fellowship Hall. Tickets on sale Feb. 15.
Feb. 18 - Ash Wednesday service, 7pm
Feb. 22-April 5 - "The Valley of Shadows"
sermon series, Sundays at 10:30am
Feb. 19-April 2 - Fast and Fellowship Dinner, 6pm
The congregation is invited to fast from after dinner on Wednesday until dinner on Thursday
Feb. 19-March 26 - Lenten small group study, "Shadows, Darkness and Dawn", Thursdays 7pm
Feb. 20-April 3 - Lenten small group study, "Shadows, Darkness and Dawn", Friday mornings, 11am
April 2 - Maundy Thursday service, 7pm
April 3 - Good Friday service, Mays Chapel UMC, 7pm
April 5 - Easter SonRise service, 6:30am,
Jessops Methodist Church, Loveton
April 5 - Easter Egg Hunt, 9:00am, church campus
April 5 - Easter Sunday service, 10:30am