This Lent, St. Andrew’s is joining Episcopalians across the world, and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, in exploring seven practices that mark a Jesus-centered life: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, and Rest. Every Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. during Lent, we will come together as a community for breakfast, fellowship, and a study session exploring what it looks like to follow Jesus authentically in our time. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church is located at 2404 N. Howard St. in Spokane. All are welcome!
Bishop Curry, the first African American leader of the Episcopal Church, captured hearts around the world last year with a stirring sermon at the royal wedding in the United Kingdom. Curry was named Religion Newsmaker of the Year in 2018 for his forceful “power of love” sermon and his passionate, joyous call for the church to embody the love and justice of God; to transform our world, “from the nightmare it often is, into the dream that God intends.” Bishop Curry co-authored the Reclaiming Jesus declaration - “A confession of faith in a time of crisis” - calling on American Christians to, “speak and to act in faith and conscience,” because, “the soul of the nation and the integrity of the faith are now at stake.” He describes our tradition as the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement, a movement of disciples committed to following Christ’s Way of Love in our daily lives, churches, and communities. We are responding to this call by focusing on these essential practices as we approach Easter in anticipation of the transformation to come.
Learn more about the Way of Love curriculum on the Episcopal Church’s website! Check back to this page throughout Lent for updates from our study sessions and for helpful resources and materials for those wishing to follow along at home.
Update: March 10, 2019
It was a chilly but beautiful morning in Spokane for our first Way of Love study, and we had a wonderful turnout at St. Andrew’s! In addition to sharing some delicious breakfast casserole, we discussed our own experiences with baptism, explored the meaning of the Easter vigil and early Christian baptismal practices, told stories of forgiveness, and identified ways our own lives are in need of “turning” toward God.
From Rev. Jonathan:
“Take time before the next session to write a letter to yourself containing your hopes and prayers for this journey. Imagine that you are starting this time by facing toward the metaphorical West in your life – the habits, beliefs, or behaviors that draw you from the love of God – and make a commitment to TURN away from them. See this as an opportunity to turn to a new way of life with God, which is promised to us in baptism. Bring your letter back, sealed in your self-addressed envelope, to be held onto by the leader until the last session.
You may also consider downloading the “Reimagining the Examen” app (free) by Loyola Press to help you settle into a practice of turning each day.”
Update: March 17, 2019
The second week in our Way of Love Lenten series was focused on prayer (not to mention, more incredible breakfast food!). Rev. Jonathan reviewed the different types of “active” prayer laid out in the Prayer Book. We also discussed the opposite form, known as apophatic prayer, which involves listening for God’s call to speak to us! Prayer can even include some forms that might surprise us, from hiking in the wilderness, to “yelling at God” in frustration or disappointment, to the experience of awe and wonder that defies words. Some members commented that the prayers that we perceive as being “unanswered” (at least for a time) can also teach us so much if we are paying attention.
We discussed strategies for prayer that have connected with us, and those we find most challenging, as well as the ways in which our prayer lives are in need of renewal in our own personal spiritual lives. All were encouraged to consider more deeply how we might renew our practices of prayer, whether through a structured program or being more conscious in our daily lives. Prayer makes us stop, focus on what matters, and truly notice both the blessings we have received and the ways in which we hope to align our lives and communities with Christ’s Way of Love.
More from the Episcopal Church’s Way of Love curriculum, including a ten minute video on the practice of Prayer and Israel’s deliverance at the Red Sea, is available here!
More to come!