Please join us as Portage Lake United Church and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church come together eccumenical Evening Prayer on Wedenesdays at 6:30 p.m. during Lent. 

Services will be streamed live via Zoom: click here to join. (Full Zoom infor below).

We will be using the Joyous Light Evening Prayer setting by Ray Makeever.

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Week 1

Genesis 9:8-17

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Genesis 9:8-17) Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Walking Prayer:

God made a covenant, not only with Noah and his descendants, but with every living
creature, leaving a rainbow as a sign forfuture generations.
Going out:
How do understand your relationship with the breadth of living things God has created.
At the Center:
Allow yourself to wonder and marvel at the diversity of God’s creation; and give praise to God.
Coming Back:
What legacy will you leave behind for generations yet to come concerning your relationship with all living things?

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord on this Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is the day that begins the christian observance of Lent–the forty day period (not including Sundays) before Easter Sunday. As a church season, Lent is ancient. In the year 604, Pope Gregory I described Lent as “the spiritual tithing of the year.” At this time of year, we are reminded of Christ’s forty day fast before his temptation in the desert, and the forty hours he spent in the tomb before rising Easter morning. We recall our own mortality and the death that Jesus suffered.

In more modern times, Lent is often thought of as a time of spiritual renewal. People are often challenged or invited to take up a Lenten practice. And in Lent, there are three spiritual practices that come to mind: prayer, fasting and the giving of alms. Recalling Jesus teaching to his disciples in Matthew chapter 6.

At the spiritual core of alms giving is an intentional giving of one’s self to others. For some this means the increasing of their practices of generosity, that is, giving extra money to a church, charity or an organization helping the needy. However, you could also practice giving alms by giving more of your time in service, too.

Lent is a good time to experiment with a new prayer practice. Perhaps, you have wanted to cultivate a contemplative prayer practice, or pray the psalms daily. I will be encouraging Portage Lake United Church to this Lent to take up a walking prayer practice rooted in the ancient prayer labyrinth. The prayer like a physical walk has three movements: 1) walking in, 2) being in the center (or at the furthest distance), and 3) walking out. These stages can be used in reflective prayer to help us let go of what hinders us, to rest in God, and to engage in the world.

Finally, Lent is often characterized by fasting. From ancient times, people have denied themselves food (or types of foods) as a way to gain spiritual insight. As one hungers for food, one cultivates a hunger and dependence upon God. Perhaps you could fast one meal, or day a week this lent. Rather than heading to the table or grabbing your lunchbag, you might find time for prayer or Bible reading.

I encourage you to take up one or more of these practices during these next forty days. But if you do, there just may be times when you don’t follow through exactly as you may have hoped to do so. A coworker may offer you something to eat, and before you know it, you’ve eaten on your fast-day. Or, you may forget to pray that new prayer sometimes. Be easy on yourself–you are only dust after all. Remember, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. The day in which we remember that we are made from dust and to the dust we will return. Our fragile mortality is a mystery–both awe inspiring and humbling. The truth is we are all in need of God’s constant grace–the season of Lent gives us opportunity after opportunity to bring this to mind, and open our spirits to God. We may be beings destined for dust, but it is God’s very Spirit that gives us life, both now and in what is to come. Thanks be to God!