Lent/Easter 2011 | Inhale/Exhale (Series Discussion)

This Lent, we will be following along with the Psalms.  The most interesting thing is that this year (Year A), the Psalms contain a lot of forgiveness language.  It’s happy in comparison to last year’s Lenten texts.  It is giving us hope that God is there, even in the desert.  So if Lent is forgiveness, then what’s can Easter be? Mission.  At one of the workshops at M11, we discussed communal worship as the idea of God breathing us in, by His Holy Spirit, and then breathing us out into the world.  This concept is beautiful when lined up with the forgiveness and mission emphasis of Lent and Eastertide. So our Lent series is called Inhale, and our Eastertide series will be called Exhale.

Because the Psalm offers the forgiveness, we had to figure out how to introduce the conflict BEFORE the teaching (ie. we must confess our brokeness and recognize our need for a Saviour before we can hear that He has forgiven us).  Our idea is to provide a way to reflect/confess throughout our time of worship so that when the teaching moment happens, they can be read to show where we are as a congregation. (response cards, txt to a pay-as-you-go cell so they are anonymous)

We also discussed reading the Psalm together, after the message, so we own it. After hearing our brokeneness and failings, and being offered the hope by the teaching of the meaning behind the Psalm, we can read it together as a beautiful response and joyous chorus.

After reading the Psalm, we will be partaking of the Eucharist (communion) every week, as a reminder of the sacrifice had to be made for forgiveness to be possible.  It also gives us a chance to teach the importance of the Eucharist.

Some other thoughts that we discussed are as follows:

  • yahweh – God’s name is actually the sound of breathing
  • singing – a practice that requires us all to breath in and out together (rob bell – why we sing)
  • breathe – nooma 14 (rob bell)
  • Lamaze breathing exercises – breathing helps us get through extreme pain
  • Ruach – Breathe and Spirit are the same word in hebrew  
  • God inhales – recognizes our sinfulness and draws us in at that moment.
  • We inhale – we gain the very thing that we need.  you can survive a while without food and water but you cannot survive very long without oxygen.
  • During Lent we inhale God through intensive practices of fasting, prayer, Scripture reading.
  • God breathes us in, drawing us into relationship, inviting us to be forgiven.

opening song
short welcome
2 songs
confession prayer – txt to false account
1 reflection song
dismiss kids/announcements, etc
read Psalm together
closing song

Thoughts on Easter series Exhale:

  • God breathed creation, life-giving activity, tangible acts of service.
  • God exhales – God breathes us out, sending us into the world, inviting us to participate in His mission, to live the redeemed life.
  • We exhale – our breathing out is good for all creation, carbon dioxide gives life to the plants and flowers of the world, which in turn, bring us oxygen
  • During Easter we need to breathe God back out into our world.

What other creative ideas can you add to make these times together impactful?