Holy Words, Ash Wednesday, and Lent
During this season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6th, we are entering into a new series exploring the Psalms of Lament. Some of us grew up attending Ash Wednesday and Lenten service while others of us are new to the tradition. Some of us love it, some of us don’t understand it, and others of us are a little turned off by what can seem like strange ritual.
Because we come from so many different places and traditions we wanted to take a few moments to explore our new series and talk about the why behind Lent and the Psalms of Lament. If you would like more info about the season of Lent and the different specials services throughout, see this blog post . If you’re looking for helpful resources about fasting during the season of Lent, see this article from Gravity Leadership.
Our (American-Christian) faith is steeped in a grammar of sentimentality. Most of us don’t have language or tools to worship and pray through the fullness of human life––ups, downs, and middles. The Psalms of lament give us a full-bodied liturgy of pain, complexity, confusion, and need. Human life is complicated, and the Psalms give us the freedom and tools to name it so.
Secondly, the Psalms of Lament remind us that our entire life is prayer––an offering to God. Genesis names us images of God and Paul calls us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. For Paul offering the body (physical) is a spiritual act of worship––a prayer. The Psalms of Lament give us an imagination and a human grammar for (em)body(ied) prayers. The psalms show us that doubts, hurt bodies, joy, and labor are Holy Words our God accepts and meets us in––body to body.
Which is also why this series is appropriate to the season of Lent. Like the Psalms of Lament the season of Lent challenges our sentimentality by drawing us into the temptation, suffering, and death of Jesus––and in turn our own. And like the Psalms of Lament the season of Lent shows us that the dirty, savage, and hard moments of our lives are Holy Words and that God in Jesus, literally, entered into it with us to be present––body to body.
Lent, Ash Wednesday, and the Psalm of Lament aren’t trying to glorify pain but are instead proclaiming the good news that our faith engages both pain and joy. The story of Jesus and the prayers of Lament reminds us how real, on the ground, and enfleshed our faith is. That’s the big good, and hard, news of this series.
Psalms of Lament
Psalm 130 – March 6, Ash Wednesday
Psalm 44 – March 10
Psalm 60 – March 17
Psalm 74:12-17 - March 24
Psalm 79 – March 31
Psalm 80 – April 7
Psalm 85 – April 14, Palm Sunday
Psalm 90 – April 19, Good Friday
Thematic Call to Worship
We gather to offer prayers
In thought, in word, and in the stuff of our making.
Like living sacrifices, we embody a prayer
Of faith and doubt and joy and mourning.
We gather because
Our God is attentive to our prayers;
He hears, and sees, and knows and names.
We gather this morning because
In the waiting and the watching
Our God is present.
We gather to offer prayers
To risk in trust the stuff our making
Because we know, God meets us
And offers us the very stuff of his making
In cup and bread.
In hope and love
God meets us.
Missio this is your call to worship.