It’s All in the Preparation . . .

by Lorraine Rothenburg, Pastor of Assimilation

Recently, I spent a few wonderful hours on a Saturday in an oil painting class. I’m no artist, but I do enjoy tapping into my creative side and seeing what will happen. Sometimes I think I’m just hoping there’s a Picasso hidden somewhere inside of me that’s just waiting to emerge in some grand and surprising artistry. Hasn’t happened yet, but I’m still hopeful.

I came to this class with my easel, all ready to put paintbrush to canvas and whip up a masterpiece. And I mean READY. Once I know I’m going to be doing something, I tend to chomp at the bit to get right to it.  But this didn’t happen that way. After setting up the easel to just the right height, aligning the TV tray beside it and positioning the chair accordingly, I thought I was ready to paint. Just hand me a brush, already! Instead, we embarked on a study in color mixing and values. Then we talked through the paints on our pallets; which ones were opaque and which were transparent. After selecting an image to paint, sketching the values with charcoal and preparing the canvas, we were instructed on thinking through placement of the objects in our picture, learning about the variety and purpose of the brushes and how to clean them. Then, finally, it was time to actually paint. And now I was truly ready.  All the preparation beforehand ensured that we were really ready to face our canvas fully equipped and engaged to experience painting as we should.

Easter is somewhat like that. Every year about this time, I start feeling Easter coming on the horizon. And I look forward to that day as a joyous celebration. But I’ve learned over the years not to rush through the weeks leading up to that big day, lest I arrive there ill-prepared to fully enter into it. Lent is the 40 day preparation time leading up to Easter.  And we are now officially in that preparing time, beginning with Ash Wednesday this week.  This is a time that mirrors an important event in the life of Jesus, when he retreated to the wilderness and fasted for 40 days, preparing for his ministry which would eventually lead to his death and resurrection.

At Oak Hills, we provide several opportunities for people to use as tools for engaging in the Lenten Season from now through Holy Week culminating with Easter Sunday. These opportunities are listed below; hard copies of these opportunities are also available at our Welcome Center.

I encourage you to include a few of these opportunities in your Lenten season of preparation as a means to purposefully reflect and engage your heart with readiness for that wonderful, redemptive Resurrection Day, Easter, when we proclaim “Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!”

LENTEN SEASON OPPORTUNITIES:

Fasting – we invite you to fast daily throughout Lent, either a meal, type of food or activity that you can replace with an increased attentiveness to God.

Compassion – it is important during this time of reflection to have a sacrificial attitude for those in need. Throughout Lent, you can bring non-perishable food to church and drop it off at the bin in our lobby to go to the Twin Lakes Food Bank.

Breath prayer three times daily – Choose a short phrase, something like “Lord Jesus, my confidence is in You” and repeat part of this as you breathe in, and the rest as you breathe out. Select three consistent times each day for this, perhaps at 10am, 3pm and 8pm.

Bedtime prayer – As your final activity and last words of the day before drifting off to sleep, pray through the Northumbria Aidan Compline each evening. (See below)

Early Morning Guided Prayer – Holy Week – Monday through Wednesday at 7:30am in the Prayer Room

Services/Events

Maundy Thursday – April 21, 7pm

Good Friday – April 22, Noon

Easter BBQ – April 23, 3:30pm

Easter Sunday services – April 24, 9 and 11am

Northumbria Aidan Compline

O Christ, Son of the living God, may Your holy angels guard our sleep,

may they watch over us as we rest and hover around our beds.

Let them reveal to us in our dreams visions of Your glorious truth,

O High Prince of the universe, O High Priest of the mysteries.

May no dreams disturb our rest and no nightmares darken our dreams.

May no fears or worries delay our willing, prompt repose.

May the virtue of our daily work hallow our nightly prayers.

May our sleep be deep and soft so our work be fresh and hard.

I will lie down and sleep in peace for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

My dear ones, O God, bless Thou and keep, in every place where they are.

Into Your hands I commit my spirit; I give it to You with all the love of my heart.

How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.

When I awake, I am still with You.

I make the cross of Christ upon my breast, over the tablet of my hard heart,

and I beseech the Living God of the universe – may the Light of Lights come

to my dark heart from Thy place; may the Spirit’s wisdom come to my heart’s tablet from my Saviour.

Christ without sin, Christ of wounds,

I am placing my soul and my body under Thy guarding this night,

Christ of the poor, Christ of tears.

Thy cross be my shielding this night, O Thou Son of tears, of the wounds, of the piercing.

I am going now into the sleep: O be it in Thy dear arm’s keep,

O God of grace, that I shall awake.

My Christ! my Christ! my shield, my encircler, each day, each night, each light, each dark.

My Christ! my Christ! my shield, my encircler, each day, each night, each light, each dark.

Be near me, uphold me, my treasure, my triumph.

Circle me, Lord, keep protection near and danger afar.

Circle me, Lord, keep light near and darkness afar.

Circle me, Lord, keep peace within; keep evil out.

The peace of all peace be mine this night in the name of the Father,

and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

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