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Lenten Guide #19

ART

Contents

  • The Art of Simple Living
  • Simplicity Circles
  • CALENDAR
  • Gospel of Mark DAILY JOURNAL
  • Lenten Activities: Forty Days of RE-LENTING
  • The Art of Simple Living

    Simple Living is "living in a way that is outwardly simple and inwardly rich. This way of life embraces frugality of consumption, a strong sense of environmental urgency, and a desire to return to living and working environments which are of a more human scale." (Duane S. Elgin and Arnold Mitchell)

    The practice of voluntary simplicity is advocated in the teachings of Jesus, the early Christian Church, St. Paul, St. Francis, and many others. It also has it roots in the teachings of other world religions, the teachings of Gandhi, and the writings of Thoreau. The American Friends Service Committee (The Quakers) define simple living as a "non-consumerist lifestyle based on being and becoming, not having."

    Seven Reasons for Choosing a Simpler Lifestyle:
    1. As an act of intentional living performed for the sake of personal integrity and as an expression of a commitment to a more equitable distribution of the world's resources.
    2. As an act of creation care for ourselves and especially for our children and grandchildren against the earth destroying results of over-consumption such as pollution, climate change, and resource wars.
    3. As an act of solidarity with the majority of humankind, which has little choice about material affluence.
    4. As an act of celebration of the riches found in God's creation, and the riches of community with others, rather than in the "poverty" of mindless materialism.
    5. As an act of spiritual discipline ordering our lives to reflect the values of simplicity and just living taught by Jesus and teachers in other world religions.
    6. As an act of advocacy for changes in present patterns of production and consumption.
    7. As an act of provocation (ostentatious under consumption) to arouse curiosity leading to dialog with others about affluence, and sustainable "green" living to redirect the production of consumer goods away from the satisfaction of artificially created wants toward the supplying of goods and services that meet genuine social needs.

    (Based on an article by Jorgen Lissner)

    Simplicity Circles

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ---Margaret Mead----

    Simplicity circles have come full circle. The Chautauqua movement, popular in New England in the nineteenth century, was the basis for study circles in Sweden. In both cases the study circles enabled citizens to educate themselves, learn problem solving skills, and use grass roots democracy to better their community. Now simplicity circles are popular again in North America.

    There has never been a better time to gather with others in your community on a regular basis to study voluntary simplicity, and to support each other in taking steps to live in more earth friendly and sustainable ways. Gathering as co learners in simple green living and cooperatively working to solve personal and societal problems, is a model for effective citizen democracy in the challenging times we live.

    Simplicity circles are a small group of people who commit to meet on a regular basis to study and discuss issues they face in living simply. They meet in a circle as peers and as advocates for each other. Groups meet in homes, houses of worship, coffee shops, libraries, on the internet, and some even in tepees.

    Leadership of the group is often shared, with each participant taking a turn at being the group coordinator. The coordinator's job description is to encourage each member of the group to participate in the discussion and action planning of the group.

    It is best to limit the simplicity circle to ten people, six to eight is ideal. Some circles start by agreeing to meet once a week for the first ten weeks, and then decide if they want to continue with that schedule. This is a wonderful way to quickly develop a sense of community in the group.

    Other circles agree to meet every other week and some meet monthly. It is important to covenant together to meet at least ten times to allow the group to develop as a circle, and to have an agreed upon point in the life of the circle where individuals in the group can self select to continue.

    A suggested format for the first meeting:

  • Have everyone introduce themselves and share in one sentence how they heard about simple living
  • The host may share a reading from Scripture (Luke 12:22-34 is great), or an appropriate passage from another source.
  • Have members of the circle form pairs or threesomes and discuss: How do you define simple living? What are your expectations of this circle? Plan on 10-15 minutes for discussion.
  • Have pairs or threesomes summarize their discussion to the whole circle.
  • Have each member of the circle share one thing they will do to simplify their life (clutter clearing, shopping less, riding bicycle to work…etc.) before the next meeting.
  • Deal with the logistics: How often will the circle meet? What day and time will the circle meet? Where will the circle meet? How will group coordination be shared? Does the circle want refreshments each meeting and how will they be provided? Share addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and consider carpooling possibilities.
  • Conclude with prayer or another appropriate reading or reflection.

  • 5

    Recommended Resources

    Enough DVD produced by Alternatives
    The Circle of Simplicity by Cecile Andrews
    How Much Is Enough? By Arthur Simon
    Simple Prosperity by David Wann
    Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin
    Simplicity Lessons by Linda Breen Pierce

    LENTEN CALENDAR

    Beginning Ash Wednesday, we will read the Gospel of Mark (NRSV)

    Daily Prayer each day will include thanksgivings and concerns in whatever form of prayer you choose.

    Backround on the Gospel of Mark: For a long time, the Gospel of Mark was the least popular of the Gospels, both among scholars and general readers. Mark's literary style is not very exciting—for example, he begins a great number of sentences with the word "then." Luke and Matthew both contain the same story of Jesus' life, but in more sophisticated prose. Mark also leaves out accounts of Jesus' birth, the Sermon on the Mount, and several of the most well known parables. Mark became more popular, however, when biblical scholars discovered it was the earliest written of the four Gospels, and was probably the primary source of information for the writers of Luke and Matthew. Moreover, because neither Jesus nor his original disciples left any writings behind, the Gospel of Mark is the closest document to an original source on Jesus' life that currently exists. The presumed author of the Gospel of Mark, John Mark, was familiar with Peter, Jesus' closest disciple. Indeed, Mark is the New Testament historian who comes closest to witnessing the actual life of Jesus. Though Mark's Gospel certainly comes to us through his own personal lens, scholars are fairly confident that Mark is a reliable source of information for understanding Jesus' life, ministry, and crucifixion. As a result of its proximity to original sources, the Gospel of Mark has transformed from a book disregarded for its lowly prose to one of the most important books in the New Testament. Its historical importance has affected its evaluation by literary scholars as well. Though crude and terse, the Gospel of Mark is vivid and concrete. Action dominates. A dramatic sense of urgency is present, and Mark has a developed sense of irony that permeates the Gospel.

    Several forms of Prayer
    Invocation-The act of inviting God into one's consciousness.
    Confession-The honest telling of one's mistakes to God.
    Thanksgiving-The result of a grateful heart.
    Petition-Giving our wants and needs to God.
    Intercession-Lift the needs of the world to God.

    Ways to Pray: Singing, praying the Psalms, using written prayers, silent meditation, praying while walking, Labyrinth-walking your spiritual journey.

    To use this resource: This daily devotion is meant to use scripture, journaling and prayer.

    First-Bring to mind three Thanksgivings each day. Write them in the space to use in prayer.
    Next-Remember the concerns of the world and the personal concerns that you have to lay before God.

    Read the scripture for the day. Some of them are lengthy and you may want to abbreviate the reading for your time frame.

    Be sure to leave 15-20 minutes for prayer each day. This is a time for you to lay your thanksgivings and concerns before God and also to listen for God. Practice spending time in silence with God. You may begin and end with a meditation bell or a chant or song, a reading. You may close in song or with the Lord's Prayer or another prayer of your choice.

    Three formats of this Lenten Calendar:
  • List of scripture readings for each day.
  • List of scripture readings with room to write Thanksgivings, Concerns and notes or questions about the scripture.
  • List of the scripture readings with the texts.

  • The Gospel of Mark
    DAILY JOURNAL

    (New Revised Standard Version):

    Ash Wednesday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 1:1-3

    Notes


    Thursday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 1:4-8

    Notes


    Friday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 1:9-15

    Notes
    Saturday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 1:16-45

    Notes


    Sunday I

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark Chap. 2

    Notes


    Monday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark Chap. 3

    Notes


    Tuesday
    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark Chap. 4

    Notes
    Wednesday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark Chap. 5

    Notes


    Thursday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark Chap. 6

    Notes


    Friday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark Chap. 7

    Notes


    Saturday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark Chap. 8

    Notes


    Sunday II

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 9:31-38

    Notes


    Monday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 9:1-7

    Notes


    Tuesday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 9:8-10

    Notes


    Wednesday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 9:11-13

    Notes


    Thursday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 9:14-29

    Notes


    Friday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 9:30-32

    Notes


    Saturday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 9:33-35

    Notes


    Sunday III

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 9:36-37

    Notes


    Monday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 9:38-39

    Notes


    Tuesday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 9:40-41

    Notes


    Wednesday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 9:42

    Notes


    Thursday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 9:43-48

    Notes


    Friday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 9:49-50

    Notes


    Saturday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 10:1

    Notes


    Sunday IV

    Thanks

    Concerns Mark 10:2-9

    Notes


    Monday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 10:10-12

    Notes


    Tuesday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 10:13-16

    Notes


    Wednesday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 10:17-22

    Notes


    Thursday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 10:23-25

    Notes


    Friday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 10:26-31

    Notes


    Saturday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 10:32-45

    Notes


    Sunday V

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 10:34-45

    Notes


    Monday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 10:46-52

    Notes


    Tuesday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark Chapter 11

    Notes


    Wednesday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 12:1-17

    Notes


    Thursday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 12:18-27

    Notes


    Friday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 12:28-44

    Notes


    Saturday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark Chapter 13

    Notes


    Sunday VI

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 13:9-27

    Notes


    Monday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 13:28-37

    Notes


    Tuesday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 14:1-9

    Notes


    Wednesday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 14:10-11

    Notes


    Thursday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 14:12-72

    Notes


    Friday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 15:1-39

    Notes


    Saturday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 15:40-47

    Notes


    Easter Sunday

    Thanks

    Concerns

    Mark 16:1-8

    Notes


    Lenten Activities

    Forty Days of RE-LENTING

    Because Lent is a contemplative time in the liturgical year, a time of reflection on life and faith, personal and corporate (family, youth group, community of faith), it is an appropriate time to consider our large reservoir of re-words. The prefix re- means "do over" or "do again." This may be good news for those who like to redo (a project), rewrite (an article), rethink (add dimension to something that has captured your imagination), or reimagine (an idea).

    Once you focus on re-words, they "pop up" everywhere. You will ":hear" them in conversations and you may discover yet more appropriate re-words for your devotion time. Always feel free to add your thoughts and even share them.

    Make a poster board sign: re>words
    Cut on the > line to separate re from the changing suffixes each day to consider the root and the whole word.

    Ash Wednesday: Repent - ask forgiveness

    Scripture: Mark 1:1-3

    Many will equate Lent with repent. Lent is a forty day wilderness experience, a season to spend more time in prayers, to contemplate the state of our being, our relationship with God. In the Gospel of Mark, we hear the voice of John crying "Prepare the way of the Lord." John calls out to us to repent, to "turn around" and learn a new behavior or to give up a friendship that we are hanging on to because it is difficult to accept change. In many traditions you may be encouraged to give up a food or drink to bring to mind the life and teachings of Jesus each time you refrain from eating dessert. Perhaps this Lent you want to take on a behavior-rising 30 minutes earlier in the morning to begin each day with God in the Gospel of Mark, in contemplative prayer: 15 or 20 minutes of silence in relationship with God.

    Prayer for the close of devotions during Lent:
    Gracious God, whose blessed Son, Jesus Christ, came down from heaven to be the true bread, which gives life to the world. Evermore, give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever more. Amen.

    Thursday: Reduce - decrease

    Scripture: Mark 1:4-8

    John says, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals." He is saying that he is not as important as the one coming after him. Those who followed John understood that John would decrease so that Jesus would be admired as more powerful than John.

    If you have given up desserts for the season of Lent, find an empty jar or small box for your offering to feed the hungry. Write on the jar words to remind you of your offering. Each day when you do not eat dessert, contribute money to your box or jar to give away at the end of Lent. Even a quarter each day will add up to $10 to send to the World Hunger appeal of you choice. One.org is an organization dedicated to the eradication of hunger by 2020. One pastor gives an equal amount of money to World Hunger every time he buys dog food. Now, that doesn't mean he gives up feeding his dog for Lent!, but he does give a good portion to World Hunger.

    Friday: Remember - commit to memory

    Scripture: Mark 1:9-15

    Especially on Friday, which many remember every Friday during Lent: Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday. In restaurants and many homes all over the world, will serve fish, again to remember Jesus.

    In the scripture passage we hear and remember
    the Baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan River. The voice from heaven calls Jesus, "my Son, the Beloved." Isn't it wonderful to know that Jesus is the Beloved? It is a good comment on parenthood and an example for us all.

    Saturday: Repair - mend

    Scripture: Mark 1:16-45

    Jesus calls the fisher men, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." When they were fishing for fish with their nets, the nets would tear. Simon and Andrew would have to repair the nets much like we repair a hole in our pants. Repair or mend is also what our hearts must do when we are hurt or disappointed. When was the last time you had a broken heart? Do you know someone that you can talk to about a disappoint- ment? Perhaps you know someone with whom you had a disagreement and you need to repair the relationship. Repair is a good Lenten activity.

    Sunday I: Removed - took off

    Scripture: Mark Chapter 2 (Mark 2:3-5)

    This next week we are asked to read a chapter each day in Mark. If that is too much, there is a shorter portion in parentheses.

    In Mark 2, some people brought a paralyzed man too Jesus, but they could not carry him in to the house where Jesus was. His friends carried him up on the roof of the house, removed the roof and lower him down to where Jesus was. What did Jesus think of the actions of the friends of the paralyzed man?

    Monday: Relentless - persistent
    Rename - give a new name
    Recount - tell
    Reframe - look at a situation in a different way


    Scripture: Mark Chapter 3 (Mark 3:6, 16-19, 35)

    In chapter 3 of Mark, verse 6 reminds us how persistent, relentless the Pharisees were as they tried to trick Jesus. In verses 16-19, Jesus renames Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter) and John, the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boarnerges, that is, Sons of Thunder). When Jesus renames the disciples, it is significant. Verse 35 recounts the quote from Jesus when he says that "whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother. Jesus reframes the people who are his relatives.

    Tuesday: Remind - tell again and again

    Scripture: Mark 4 (Mark 4:1-9)

    Wednesday: Restrained - held back
    Report - tell


    Scripture: Mark 5 (Mark 5:1-20,43)

    Thursday: Refuse - decline, disagree

    Scripture: Mark 6 (Mark 6:3b-6a)

    Friday: Refine - purify, filter, distill
    Reject - eliminate, throw out, discard


    Scripture: Mark 7 (Mark 7:1-9)

    Saturday: Remember - keep in mind, learn by heart, consider
    Recreate - construct again, establish again
    Reform - change, improve, alter
    Recycle - salvage, use again


    Scripture: Mark 8 (Mark 8:1-21)

    Sunday II: Renew - make good, mend
    Reuse - use again, salvage
    Replace - swap, trade, change


    Scripture: Mark 9:31-38

    Monday: Rehearse - practice, train, study
    Refresh - invigorate, enliven, pep up


    Scripture: Mark 8:22-26

    Tuesday: Recapitulate - summarize, run through, go over
    Rebuke - censure, scold, chide


    Scripture: Mark 8:27-30

    Wednesday: Reiterate - say or do again, go over
    Revive - stimulate, breathe life into
    Retire - go away, stop working, leave


    Scripture: Mark 8:31-38

    Thursday: Review - assess
    Recount - tell again


    Scripture: Mark 9:1-7

    Friday: Release - free, liberate, let go
    Reframe - look at a situation in a different way
    Relentless - persistent, harsh, ruthless
    Rebuke - scold, admonish, chide


    Scripture: Mark 9:8-13

    Saturday: Replay - play again, repeat of previous event

    Scripture: Mark 9:14-27

    Sunday III: Review - look at something critically, consider again
    Repress - keep inside


    Scripture: Mark 9:28-29

    Monday: Redefine - make something different
    Redevelop - to improve something that has been run down


    Scripture: Mark 9:30-32

    Tuesday: Reconstruct - modernize, say in a different way

    Scripture: Mark 9:33-35

    Wednesday: Rescind

    Scripture: Mark 9:36-37

    Thursday: Reward

    Scripture: Mark 9:38-39

    Friday: Regret

    Scripture: Mark 9:42

    Saturday: Reemphasize

    Scripture: Mark 9:43-48

    Sunday IV: Restate

    Scripture: Mark 9:49-50

    Monday: Reiterate
    Reassess


    Scripture: Mark 10:1

    Tuesday: Receive - accept, be given
    Rethink - Juggle around with


    Scripture: Mark 10:2-16

    Wednesday: Review - assess

    Scripture: Mark 10:17-22

    Thursday: Reorganize - sort out

    Scripture: Mark 10:23-25

    Friday: Reverse - turn around
    Rewind - reverse


    Scripture: Mark 10:26-31

    Saturday: Repeat - tell again

    Scripture: Mark 10:32-33

    Sunday V: Remind - tell again
    Reconciliation - compromise, bringing together


    Scripture: Mark 10:34-45

    Monday: Recover - get well

    Scripture: Mark 10:46-52

    Tuesday: Require - need or want

    Scripture: Mark 11 (Mark 11:7-11)

    Wednesday; Remit - send payment
    Scripture: Mark 12:1-17

    Jesus asked, "Whose head is this? And whose title?"
    They said, "The emperor."
    Jesus said, "Give to the emperor what belongs to the emperor and to God's the things that are God's." It seems so obvious when we stand back and observe the scene: Remit to the emperor what belongs to the emperor and to God, everything else. Everything that we are and have belongs to God.

    Thursday; Relive - experience again

    Scripture: Mark 12:18-27

    So the Sadducees were trying to trick Jesus and told him the story about the man who dies and leaves his wife. By law the widow is the man's brother's responsibility. This scene is relived over and over again. Jesus' answer is great. Do you remember the conclusion of the reading?

    Friday: Review - Ask questions
    Redevelop - To improve, make better use and encourage


    Scripture: Mark 12:28-44

    Saturday: Reconstruct - Modernize, say in a different way

    Scripture: Mark 13:1-8

    Sunday: Revitalize - invigorate, give new life

    Scripture: Mark 13:9-27
    Palm/Passion Sunday

    Monday: Revive - perk up, stimulate

    Scripture: Mark 13:28-37

    Tuesday: Rebuke - scold, admonish, chide
    Redefine - find a different meaning


    Scripture: Mark 14:1-9

    Wednesday: Renounce - abandon, forsake

    Scripture: Mark 14:10-11

    Thursday: Review - appraise, evaluate, assess
    Maundy Thursday

    Scripture: Mark 14:12-72

    Friday: Respect - take another look
    Good Friday

    Scripture: Mark 15:1-39

    Saturday: Receive - accept
    The Vigil of Easter

    Scripture: Mark 15:40-47

    Sunday: Redemption - salvation, wholeness
    The Resurrection

    Scripture: Mark 16:1-8(9-20)
    Page updated 2 Jan. 2014

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