Sacramento Japanese 
United Methodist Church
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Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church

6929 Franklin Blvd.

Sacramento, CA 95823

(916) 421-1017

© 2016 Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church


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Loving God • Serving Others • Transforming Lives

2018 LENT - “LISTEN”

2/14/18 Ash Wednesday - Finding your Life: Listening Deeply - Luke 1:9-15

As we prepare for our 40-day journey of Lent, we “turn around” (the root meaning of the word “repent”) from the distractions of daily noise and focus our attention on listening in a deeper way. Writer Parker Palmer suggests we must listen “to what our life is telling us”–in other words, to listen to the deep wisdom God gave to us as a birthright, connecting to God’s purpose once again.


2/18/18 Finding Your Cave: Listening Spaces - 1 Kings 19: 11-12

Sometimes we just need to get away in order to hear from that “still small voice” within. This quiet voice is an attribute of the Holy Living God, as Elijah found out in a cave where he expected to experience God in big wind and earthquake and fire. What is your “cave" equivalent? What place (a park, a path, a rocking chair, a shoreline) and practice (walking, journaling, reading, making art) helps you get quiet enough for long enough so you can hear past the chaos and into the depths of your life?


2/25/18 Finding Your Breath: Listening to our Bodies - Romans 8: 26-30; 38-39

Our sacred texts connect the breath of God with our own aliveness–God blew breath into us at creation and we continue to breathe all of creation in and out of our bodies constantly. The early church also believed that breath and Spirit were one in the same. How might the meditative practice of paying attention to our breath be, in and of itself, a prayer of connection to God? When we embrace our bodies as the holy vessel of God, we become even more our True Selves–which has been there all along.


3/4/18 Finding a Word: Listening to the Texts - Proverbs 1: 20-23

The Wisdom tradition within Christianity invites us to love knowledge, especially the self-knowledge that comes from examining ourselves in relationship to the liberating Word of God. Lectio divina (“divine reading”) is an ancient tradition of mixing the reading of scripture with prayer and meditation. Rather than an analytical approach to the words of scripture, it is a way for the words to simply be present and live in us. What will we hear when we let go of what it all is “supposed to” mean and simply let it reside within us?


3/11/18 Finding Your Power: Listening for Healing - Mark 5: 24-34

Prayer as a spiritual practice may come easily for you and maybe it doesn’t. Even the most devout

among us has doubts about prayer’s power at times. What is it? How does it work? This week we

will consider that the mechanics of what happens in prayer is not as important as that we do it.

Because whether or not the outcome for ourselves or others is an actual healing, the very act of being entangled with God and with others through prayer has healing and power-bestowing benefits.


3/18/18 Finding Your Mystic: Listening Beyond the Voices - Romans 12: 2-12

We often have a “cast of characters” living inside our heads that love to carry on endless conversations–each from their own perspective. The chatter of our minds can sometimes keep us from a deeper listening and it is often difficult to decipher exactly what constitutes a mystical connection to God. Getting our True Self into the chairperson’s seat in the committee meeting does not mean ignoring those voices of pessimism, people-pleasing or accusation, but instead listening intently to them and not letting them bully us into action based on fear. Letting them in and letting them go is the prayer of the mystic within.


3/25/18 Palm Sunday - Finding Your Purpose: Listening to Your Heart - Matthew 26: 36-46

Jesus’ prayer life was described most often in the scriptures as something he did “away” from the crowds or disciples. And as we come to the last week of this Lent journey, we have experienced the blessings of turning away from the noise of the world in order to turn inward to hear that “still small voice” of God and finding our own voice of wisdom there as well. This Sunday begins the story of the end of Jesus’ human life and the scripture contains one of the rare examples of how Jesus prayed. It was honest, it was gut-wrenching, and it finally was a letting-go of expectations about life and a turn toward the acceptance that gives the courage to move onward.


3/30/18 Holy Week - Hearing the Still, Small Voice: Finding Your Own - John 17-19

The “Appointment with God” that we have experienced each week in our Lent worship will be expanded for an evening of being with God, with ourselves and with each other. We start with a meal, remembering the last time Jesus ate with his disciples. Then we will “go to the Garden” with Jesus to pray, hear music, be silent together, and see photos from our individual Lent prayer journeys. We will hear the scripture account of Good Friday and then go out into the night to wait for… the rest of the Story.