“You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love” (Nehemiah 9:17).
Racism. Immigration. Sexuality. We need to engage more faithfully with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and societal concerns.
Lent is a season of confession and repentance. It is a time when we are more aware of our brokenness and our deep, deep need for Jesus. To engage well with the Holy Scriptures, one another, and our culture, we must begin from a place of humility. That’s why Pastor Mandy invites you and your ministry groups to join her in a lenten study of “Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith.”*
Here’s how to engage…
- Begin to pray. This book is an easy read of some difficult material. This book is not perfect, but it is good. It will tap into deep emotions and highlight some of our differences.
- Read together. Many groups already exist in the church – Grace groups, ministry teams, committees. While we will be adding an additional Grace group during this season, you can engage with people you are already connected with.
- Choose your reading plan. You can read the whole book, or you can choose certain chapters that are most important to your group.
The hope is that this book will provide a way for our congregation to move forward together, not on one issue, but as God’s people. Together, we will humbly seek His transforming love and courageously share this love with others.
* Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith was written by Soong-Chan Rah and Mae Cannon (both Covenanters with connections to Grace). This book seeks a “sustained and humble pursuit of communion with God and neighbor that remembers the past and that shows in our earnest dedication to live out the new humanity that is God’s gift” (p.19). You can also purchase the book through Amazon.
WORSHIP DURING LENT
Sermon Series on Nehemiah; **Weekly laments written by congregants** based in “Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith”
INTRODUCTION: Dr. Soong-Chan Rah speaking on the need for corporate lament in Christian worship; **Sins against God’s Creation”**
Week 1: Mourning Our Disgrace 1:1-2:10 I confess the sins we have committed against you. (1:4-11) ; Rather than jumping to quick-fix solutions, often our best response (and God honoring response) is to weep over our sin. **Sins against Indigenous People**
Week 2: Building for Unity 2:11-3:32 Let us start rebuilding!… the God of heaven will give us success. (2:11-20) After lament and confession, we must honestly survey the brokenness (give us eyes to see!) and enter into others’ solutions (working together). **Sins against African Americans and People of Color**
Week 3: Opposing the Opposition (4:1-5:19) Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome. (4:14) When opposition comes, we pray to God and practically prepare for the reality. **Sins against Women**
Week 4: Completing the Task; Beginning the Work (7:1-6, 66-73) God put on my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials and the common people. (7:5) Nehemiah had complete phase one of his mission: rebuilding the wall. Now the REAL WORK began: rebuilding the community **Sins against the LGBT Community**
Week 5: Listening to Holy Scriptures (8:1-18) This day is holy to the Lord, do not mourn or weep. For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the law.” (8:9) Rebuilding God’s people requires rooting ourselves in God’s word. **Sins against Immigrants**
Week 6: Renewing Vision and Commitment (10:1-12:26) You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore, you did not desert them. (9:17) God’s people will fail, but God is faithful. **Sins against Jews and Muslims**
Week 7 (EASTER): Celebrating with Joy (12:27-13:31) At the dedication of the wall….celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with music (12:17). God works his renewal and redemption in his people.