Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

Photo: © iStock.com / elinedesignservices (image #43282422)(Almost) every Sunday morning, I get to sit right in the front of the church as we gather for worship. I see the congregation build as people come into the sanctuary, some laughing and chatting, some quiet and reflective, sleepy or grumpy, peaceful or bubbling over with cheer -- each one, every one, a needed part of the tapestry of this bright, radiant place.

On Sundays we meet together to ground ourselves in something deep and real and unending. To set our sights on something high and luminous and inviting. We gather to look to each other for understanding and wisdom. To open our hearts to God together. We gather to be reminded that we belong to each other and to rejoice that the whole thing -- our community, our town, nation, world -- belongs to God’s love.

This Lent we’ll try on a new way of gathering to do that grounding, seeking, and rejoicing – a way that invites conversation and participation.

We’ll start the season with an interactive Ash Wednesday service in the sanctuary on March 6.

We’ll continue to gather each Wednesday of Lent, but instead of meeting in the sanctuary, we’ll head straight for the kitchen. Together we’ll cook and set up, break communion bread, and share it and the meal we’ve made together. 

As we eat, we’ll hear a reading and brief reflection, and then everyone will be invited to respond from their own experience. Then, after we sing and pray together, we’ll share the communion cup, gather the dishes and meet back in the kitchen to clean up together. Once the dishes are washed and put away and the tables and chair stacked, we’ll circle around for the passing of the peace and a final blessing.

As much as I love them, this is not a potluck dinner. There will be no need to sign up ahead of time for the set up or clean-up crew, because the whole thing – cooking, eating, praying, cleaning – will be part of the worship that we do together for that evening.

Each evening will have a chef who brings the ingredients and the recipe for a vegetarian meal and gets the cooking going. At the end of each evening an offering will be taken to cover the cost of the ingredients.

I’ll go first. Wednesday, March 13, we’ll be having vegetarian tortilla soup. Join me between 5:30 and 6:00 to get the cooking going. And if you can, let me know (email, text or phone calls all work) if you will be there so I bring plenty of food for all.

Together we’ll create a holy, filling, inspiring Lent.