Lent Week 2
Preparing a Table
It is believed that King David wrote the words to Psalm 23. King David was a man of great faith and a man of great failings. His was a life of instability and uncertainty. And yet in this Psalm we hear the perspective of someone who had a trusting and intimate relationship with God.
The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He lets me rest in grassy meadows; he leads me to restful waters; he keeps me alive. He guides me in proper paths for the sake of his good name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me. Your rod and your staff— they protect me. You set a table for me right in front of my enemies. You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over! Yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the Lord’s house as long as I live.
Creating a relationship with such trust and intimacy with God is done the same way we would with another person, it is about time together, turning towards one another. Daily Bible reading and other spiritual practices like the prayer chair help us turn towards and spend time with awareness of the presence of God.
The long form of the so-called Serenity Prayer is another way to grow in our relationship with God. The prayer comes from Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.
God, grant me the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that You will make all things right, if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.
In his prayer Niebuhr seeks to be in relationship with God, not use God as a quick or magical fix to struggles and pain.
We are going to use a God Box as a way to practice the Serenity Prayer. Begin your prayer time with some box breathing. Breath in through your nose, deep, filling your belly like a balloon for a count of four, then hold for a count of four, breath out through your mouth for a count of four, fully like deflating a balloon, and hold empty for a count of four. Do this four times.
Now spend some time in discerning prayer about what are the things that you are struggling with that you can’t do anything about. What are the fears, pains, worries, regrets that replay in your head and heart? What are the distractions that keep you from being present in this moment and in your daily life? Write or draw those things and place them in your God Box. Placing these worries in the God Box doesn’t mean that God will fix all of them like a genie, but it is a way of sorting them out, setting them aside, to make room for the awareness of God’s presence.
The things that you have discerned can be changed, focus on those things today, inviting God to join you and empower you to become more actively engaged. By setting aside the things we can not change, we can now give greater attention to those we can.
End your prayer chair and God Box time with this prayer:
For the times when I have put the to-do list before reaching out to others…forgive me. For the times when I isolate myself to “just push through it”…forgive me. Help me find the place of balance, O God. Help me be mindful of my need- and others’ need- to be in relationship. Help me stop and find that relationship with you as you invite me to beautiful and serene moments of life like this one.
In this moment I hear your promise: there is a place for me, and plenty to go around. You do not ask me to work to earn a place at Your table. I am Your child, and that comes with a never-ending invitation. Regardless.
Holy God, who holds me close as a Loving Parent does, I honor this life You have given me and this moment to remember what’s important. I pray that Your love will reign in all the earth and in my heart. Give me what I need to get through the next 24 hours. No more. No less. Open me to give and receive forgiveness when and if that’s needed so that serenity will return. Your world is precious. This moment will never pass again. With this breath I offer my deepest thanks. Amen.
-Rev. Bill Mauldin
6:30 PM Covenant Carillons-sanctuary
7:30 PM Adult Choir -Choir Rm
12:00 PM 4H-EB201-5
1:30 PM ECDP Chapel
6:30 PM ReFit-CC
9:00 AM C.O.D.A.-202EB
9:00 AM Sunday School for All Ages
10:30 AM UNITY WORSHIP SERVICE
11:45 AM Covenant Cafe-EB201-5
12:15 PM Elementary Singers-EB207
12:15 PM Preschool Singers-EB202
12:15 PM UMYF: EB201-205
12:45 PM Children’s Chimes-sanctuary
Secure Document Shredding
Saturday, April 6
10 am to 1:30 pm
Holy Covenant parking lot
Protect your identity while supporting Holy Covenant United Methodist Church Missions! Watch your documents being shredded on site with the utmost security. The cost is $5.00 per “copy paper” sized box. Invite your friends and family to bring their sensitive documents to be shredded. Shredding done by Secure On-Site Shredding Inc. Visit secureonsiteshredding.com for more information about the company.
Sunday Highlights – March 24, Third Sunday in Lent
Cindy Baucom and Lorrie Hammons
Tim Shepardson and Stephanie Knibbs
2019: A Year in the Bible
Feel like you’ve missed the boat on reading the Bible in chronological order? Don’t! You can jump right in in any of the following ways:
1. Download the free Bible app by You Version. This link should take you to the group from Holy Covenant that are doing this reading together: Invitation.
2. You can use the link above on-line as well. If you don’t want to be connected to others you can just go to bible.com. Go to plans and search The One Year Chronological Bible.
3. You can listen to The One Year Chronological Bible through Audible.com at Audiobook or you can download the app and listen to it on your phone.
4. You can buy a The One Year Chronological Bible in book form through Amazon at Amazon or download it to your Kindle or E-Reader.
5. You can use any Bible you want and follow this print out that tells you what scriptures to read each day: Reading Plan.
Support Holy Covenant While You Shop
You can support Holy Covenant while you shop. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to your favorite charitable organization. To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile. Select Holy Covenant United Methodist Church to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.
Highlights Outside Holy Covenant
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support Group
Third Tuesday of each month at 6 pm
Located on the third floor, Atria Carrollton – 1825 Arbor Creek Drive, Carrollton
Support for those supporting others. Surround yourself each month with people who offer kindness, understanding and togetherness to those who care for others. Refreshments provided by Atria Carrollton.