Archive for Lent

Invitation to Pause for Lent Together

Are you interested in connecting with a small group during the six weeks of Lent and engaging in intentional spiritual time to center your heart and mind in preparation for Easter? Several new and existing groups are available for you to participate in, starting the week of March 5. Just show up – no sign-ups needed!

  • Sundays, starting March 5, led by Jeff Jenks (men’s group)
    12:15pm, Live Oak Room
  • Mondays, starting March 6, led by Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino
    9:30am, Resource Center
  • Mondays, starting March 6, led by Pastor Mariellen
    12:00pm (bring your own lunch), Resource Center
  • Tuesday mornings, starting March 7, online group (details in process)
  • Wednesdays, starting March 8, led by Perrie Erickson
    7:00pm, Resource Center

All groups will use the daily devotional Pauses for Lent by Trevor Hudson. The book includes 40 theme words (one for each day of Lent), each one paired with a scripture and short meditation. Read/do the daily devotional on your own, then meet with your group on campus for six weekly sessions to discuss the words and experiences of the past week, going deeper in faith together. Contact GroupLife with any questions.

Lent Worship Series: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Our Lent worship series is “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.” The lectionary for Lent this year offers many images of where love, grace, forgiveness, righteousness, healing, can REALLY be found. And usually it is not in the usual places. Isn’t it as true of us today as it was of the scriptural authors? Don’t we often look for wholeness and happiness (love) in places that offer only temporary good feelings and satisfaction? Lent is a wonderfully reflective time to reassess where we are searching for meaning, for redemption. We’ll move through the lectionary to find out who offers the real deal.

March 5: Look for the Resistor

The story at the center of our look for love this week is the story of the temptation of Jesus in the desert after his baptism found in Matthew 4:1-11. In this story we see the futility of looking for love in the things that only provide temporary satisfaction, in seeking empty highs, tempting fate, and in mindless adoration. Rather, as Jesus demonstrates, it is in our resistance to evil that we find true communion with God. Resistance to evil starts with our own confession of complicit acts that move us further from love. Our groaning can turn to “glad cries of deliverance” as we choose good over evil time after time—even and especially if it isn’t the popular thing to do.

March 12: Look for the Helper

Oftentimes we believe that we must “deserve” the love we receive. We work, work, work to get approval and to feel like our life is justified—pulling our own weight, thinking that whatever life we create and love we get is only what we ourselves can conjure up. But John 3:1-17 offers the image of God as our “keeper”—always helping, always present. Nicodemus, a Pharisee who comes to Jesus for advice in the middle of the night, has followed all the rules and done everything HE can do, and yet he is still looking for love—for tangible connection with God. Jesus says that he must be born “of the Spirit.” It’s not all up to him! It’s not all up to simply “doing the right thing”! It is about allowing the Spirit to help birth love in our lives, having faith that the Spirit of God is always present and urging us to choose love. For “God so loved the world” that God birthed into the world a Son (Love) that would embody the grace we can count on.

March 19: Look for the Thirst-Quencher (Confirmation Sunday)

The Samaritan woman at the well found out that the water she came for was not really the water she needed so desperately. This woman had looked for love in many places, in many faces and when finally offered a soul-quenching love by Jesus, she became a powerful messenger of Good News. Just as the water given by God that flowed in the desert for the Israelites offered new life, the desert of our lives can be refreshed if we look for love regularly at the well of living water and offer life-giving water to others. This Sunday, we will also celebrate with those eighth graders who joined as members of the church at the previous evening’s Confirmation Service. Holy Communion will be offered at all services.

March 26: Look for the Shepherd

We too often look for security (love) in powerful figures, sure that they can “fix” things for us. It was no different for the people of the First and Second Testaments. They were looking for kings, saviors, or liberators who would offer peace and security in uncertain times. And they often looked “in all the wrong places.” The story of Samuel looking for God’s appointed ruler among the sons of Jesse is a case in point. The youngest son, a “ruddy” boy out taking care of the sheep, turns out to be the one (David). So, too, the Pharisees just can’t believe that this trouble-maker, rule-breaker named Jesus is the One, the Son of God and Savior. Time and again Jesus uses the metaphor of a shepherd to teach us how we ought to love and care for each other. No wonder: the Shepherd does what is needed, when it is needed, regardless of the “rules.” Our scripture will be Psalm 23.

April 2: Look for the Liberator

Sometimes the things we think offer love actually seek to bind us, preventing us from being full and whole and offering our best love to the world. In John 11:32-45, the story of Lazarus, whose funeral shrouds trail him out of the tomb, offers us a metaphor of new life as we recognize that true love is that which unbinds us, that which wants for us more, not less, freedom and life. Jesus says to us, “Come out!” Walk! Live! Love! Shed your funeral clothes and offer your deepest self, your deepest love, for the world. Of course this kind of love can be dangerous, as we will see as the events of Holy Week loom closer. But the price of continuing to look for love in the wrong places is higher than the blessing of life lived boldly. Come out! Walk! Live! Love! Note: Holy Communion will not be offered this week.

April 9: Look for the King (Palm Sunday)

We will celebrate Palm Sunday with the traditional palm processional, as we enter into Holy Week together. The scripture will be Matthew 21:1-11.

Ash Wednesday, March 1: Looking For Love

This year, we will hold a short service of Holy Communion and imposition of ashes at 5:00pm on Ash Wednesday, March 1, in the Sanctuary, then continue to offer communion and the imposition of ashes to all until 8:00pm. Come when you can; come as you are.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, a marker of the beginning of a journey of self-reflection and discernment, originating in the 11th-century church. The journey of repentance is about “turning around” (the origin of the word repentance) so that we might be in right relationship with God—in a sense, we are looking for love once again. The scriptures invite us to spiritual practices of discernment such as praying and fasting, but not for the sake of looking good (for our sake). Rather, we are to do our work for the sake of the world—to loose the bonds of injustice, to let the oppressed go free. When we look to God for love (not simply for approval), and start with our own turning, we participate in the turning around of the world.

GroupLink to Find a Group for Lent, Feb. 26

Are you interested in joining a small group during Lent and engaging in intentional spiritual time to center your heart and mind in preparation for Easter? You have an opportunity to link with others and form a small group right on the spot! GroupLife is hosting a GroupLink event on Sunday, February 26, at 9:30am in Creekside. This event is designed to help people interested in a group to find each other based on availability, agree to a time, and reserve a room on the church campus to meet each week. No complicated sign-ups needed!

All groups will use the daily devotional Pauses for Lent by Trevor Hudson. The book includes 40 theme words (one for each day of Lent), each one paired with a scripture and short meditation. Individuals will read/do the daily devotional on their own and meet with their group on campus for six weekly sessions to discuss the words and experiences of the past week, going deeper in faith together. If you are unable to attend the GroupLink event on February 26 but wish to be in a six-week Lenten group, contact GroupLife or check back on this website starting February 27 for a list of the groups formed during GroupLink and choose one to join.

Holy Week and Easter Services, March 20–27

Holy Week services commemorate Jesus’ life, death on the cross, and resurrection victory on Easter. Through Jesus, we come to know God. Travel the journey of Holy Week at Los Altos United Methodist Church. Join Jesus in his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, his last gathering with his disciples on Maundy Thursday, his sacrifice and sorrow on Good Friday, his time of waiting through God’s perfect timing on Holy Saturday, and his victorious resurrection on Easter Sunday. As you journey through Holy Week, may you discover a renewed commitment and a richer, more meaningful Easter.

Our services are listed below, or you may download our Holy Week at LAUMC flyer for your reference.

Palm Sunday – March 20
8:00, 9:30, 11:15am, Sanctuary
5:00pm, Creekside
With the procession of palms, we will celebrate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The God Story moves toward its dramatic resolution. Our Confirmation Class of eighth graders will lead in worship. Holy Communion will be served at all services. New members of all ages will be joining the church at the evening service.

Maundy Thursday – March 24
7:30pm, Sanctuary
The God Story continues through Passion Week as we remember the Last Supper together. This quiet, contemplative service will include special music, communion, and a message from Pastor Debbie Weatherspoon.

Good Friday – March 25
7:30pm, Creekside
Leave your prayers at the cross. Pastor Mariellen Yoshino will give the message, and music will be by the Creekside Worship Band.

Holy Saturday – March 26
5:00pm, Creekside
Consider the many moments where God is STILL at work, even when we don’t seem to see it. What was really happening when, for a moment, the earth stood STILL? Our OpenCircle young adult group and Pastor Sam Yun will lead this deep and profound service.

easter_flowersEaster Sunday – March 27

Sunrise Service, 6:30am, Sanctuary Garden
Hear the Easter message and rejoice with our youth choirs, Lightshine and Starfire Singers. Pastor Dirk Damonte will give the message.

Morning Worship, 8:00, 9:30, 11:15am, Sanctuary
The twist ending to The God Story: Jesus is alive! Hallelujah! Celebrate Easter with festive hymns, special anthems, and a message from Pastor Mariellen Yoshino based on John 20:1-18.

Contemporary Worship, 5:00pm, Creekside
The God Story doesn’t end with the miraculous twist ending of Jesus’ resurrection, it continues with new life and renewed hope. Sing and praise in this contemporary service, with music by Creekside Worship Band and a message from Pastor Dirk Damonte.

Ideas and Resources for Lent

Lent crossWelcome to the church season of Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter. Many people take this season as an opportunity to deepen their relationship with God through adding new spiritual practices and/or letting go of (fasting from) habitual indulgences.

If you are looking for ways to add meaning to your Lenten season, consider one of these devotions, reflections, or activities. Remember, you don’t have to start these at the very beginning, or continue them all the way through to Easter. Try one out for a day or a week and see how it helps you.

 

  • Rethink Church: Lent – Each week, ponder a theme and question, then post your responses and reflections on social media. Be as creative as you like!
  • 40 Ideas for Lent – Blogger Rachel Held Evans has gathered a list of 40 resources for different ways to observe Lent.