Dear Kirk family,
Every Thursday at 7:00 a.m. I share a Bible study (on Zoom) with men from the church. If this is something that might interest you, we would love to have you join! This year we are working through the the Book of Acts which includes the birth of the church and the first missionary journeys. As part of the study, we have investigated a variety of early church practices and one, in particular, has captured a lot of attention.
Fasting and praying.
A tradition firmly grounded in scripture and associated liturgically with this current season of Lent, fasting has long been a common way for people to express their deep dependence on God, to tame the desires for more, and to create space for our hearts to remember and refocus on God. We fast as a way of embodying the truth that we “do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Fasting reminds us that we are in good hands. It postpones gratification and practices self-denial, which are important keys to spiritual growth.
Fasting is a way to express our solidarity with the world’s hungry.
But, also, as we fast together, we are fastened together as community of faith. Since “community” is a unique challenge during these continuing “social distancing” days, we have designed the following program for any and all that would like to join.
Kirk in the Hills Lenten Fast 2021
You are invited to take part in a Lenten Fast with your Kirk family each Wednesday in the month of March (March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31). From daybreak to dusk, we invite you to follow the fast using the recommendations below as they connect to our vision statement: We envision a world where every heart experiences God's transforming love.
Watch Pastor Nate's invitation to pray and fast together.
Daybreak: Begin the fast. As you do, be sure to honor your body’s ability to fast safely without putting your heart in danger. Some options:
a total fast with only water to drink
a fast from all solid food, with fruit juices or clear broth allowed
a partial fast, with one or two healthy light snacks during the day, a yogurt, a piece of fruit
Morning: Connect with the Scriptures. Set aside time to read and study using the Lenten devotional written by a Kirk member and emailed to you. Use these morning moments to “tend the sheep” of God’s pasture - pray for your church, your friends, your enemies, and the world.
Noon: Connect with God. Join us online or in person at the Kirk for a twenty minute Lenten noonday prayer service hosted by Kirk worship leadership. This will be an opportunity to “come to shore” for an intentional relational encounter with Jesus.
Afternoon: Connect with Those in Need. What might it look like to “share the fish” as part of this practice? You might spend some time praying for someone you know or one of our mission partners in Pontiac or around the world, or deliver a donation to the Kirk for our Lenten food drive, or make a financial donation to a worthy cause, or go pack food boxes at Lighthouse or make sandwiches for Baldwin Center (contact Julie at ), or help someone with a problem they are facing.
Dusk: Connect with the People You Love - Break the Fast. As the sun goes down on a soul-filling day, fill your bellies with food and fill your hearts with the company of your loved ones. Share a meal or snack with them, make a call or send a text to them, and/ or give thanks to God for them. Another option is to connect with the church folks that you love through the New Testament class led by Pastor Marjorie on Wednesdays at 7 pm via Zoom.
It’s important to remember Matthew 6:16-18: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
So, fasting is a private, not public, exercise. It is about turning worshipfully God-ward, in true humbleness and surrender of body, soul and spirit.
That said, who knows how God might use the ancient and private practice of fasting and praying to reunite us, to re-knit us together with God’s good hands, after such a long time kept apart?
Anniversary Campaign – Feasibility Study
Whether or not you decide to take part in our Lenten Fast, I hope that you will intentionally share time with God in this season of Lent. As you do, perhaps you will include the feasibility study for the Kirk’s “Anniversary Campaign” in your prayers.
Over the next few days you will receive an email notice from me with a preliminary background statement on the campaign and an invitation to take a brief survey to collect your feedback.
We hope that the background statement is exciting to read! Church leadership has contributed to a variety of good ideas to include in it. And yet, we are only in the “testing” phase of this campaign - which means we are still hard at work discerning where God is calling us to step forward in faith as we cross the threshold of our 75th anniversary. We need your feedback and help to continue that discernment.
I hope we will be open to the movement of the Spirit as we learn, grow, and share together!
Watch a preview from Pastor Nate and Kirk Members as we imagine what the Kirk will look like in the years to come as we approach the Kirk's 75th Anniversary.