On Sunday we will explore the story of Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness in Luke 4:1-14. The story follows his baptism and precedes his calling of the disciples. The service that I'm planning has no sermon and instead a number of prayer stations. Some of it is based on a chapel service on Exodus 16 that I did at Uniting College. You can download that on the right below Worship Resources.
The worship space will have our cloth labyrinth in the centre and stations at the communion table and in several places at the edge of the church.
I've made a 5 minute video to show prior to worship. It has desert and wilderness images, mainly from pexels.com with the song "Processional" by William Ackerman from the album "Returning". To be honest, I would have preferred a more unsettling piece of music, but I know that I'm going to be asking a lot of the congregation, so a sense of "space" is enough. (Images from pexels.com and unsplash.com are used throughout the service.
(incorporating some words of Cheryl Lawrie's from "Hold This Space".)
Today we begin the season of Lent
- a forty day journey that will take us to the foot of the Cross.
This is a thin place, a sacred time
– not because God is here in a special way.
God is no different here than anywhere else,
but we are able to be different here in response to God’s presence.
We begin Lent with an unsettling story – of Jesus own forty-day journey
- of discomfort, of isolation, of desperation – his wilderness days.
Jesus is tempted. He hungers. He struggles.
Today I invite you to be immersed in his story
– to enter a desert place, a place of testing, of questioning,
of doubting, of wrestling and waiting.
No easy worship today. No clear comfort. No simple answers.
Our hope today is that God’s voice may come to us in unexpected ways
– through silence, through image, through symbol,
through movement, through music, through prayer.
God says to us that here in this place and time,
all of who you are is welcome.
Let us bring our humanity to this journey -
the bright and the broken parts of us,
those parts which strive to be beautiful,
and those which are nothing but flawed.
Let us bring them together,
to be held and shaped by the company
of God with us and among us.
Let our worship and our lives be a prayer of longing and of hope today.
Lord, hear us, we pray.
May we know your Spirit in our midst.