Dear TGC Chelsea Community,

Welcome to the season of Lent—forty days between Epiphany and Good Friday. Inaugurated by ashes to the forehead (Ash Wednesday), and culminating in the Easter celebration, Lent is the reminder that we all come from dust and to dust we shall return (Genesis 3:19).

Commemorating Christ’s forty days of fasting in the wilderness, Lent simultaneously draws us into his suffering, while also pointing us toward the hope of his resurrection. Lent literally means “spring.” It is a season of death and rebirth, a time to take a spiritual inventory and clean out that which hinders our relationship with Christ and our service to him.

OUR LENTEN PRACTICES 

We are committed to practices of formation and experience. We long to be formed into the image of God and experience his goodness and presence. Through Lent we will apply ourselves to the practices of Reading the WordPrayer, and Fasting.

Reading the Word - You can participate with us in the TGC Lent Devotional (available as a hardcopy on Sundays and as a digital download below), which has a daily scripture and reflection. You can also join us for Lenten Morning Prayer every Wednesday morning where we will listen to the reading of the daily office.

Prayer - Let us come daily to our Lord bringing our meditations, reflections, and experiences to him. Let us sit at his feet, with patience and yet with eagerness to learn his heart and his ways. Pray with us through the TGC Lent Devotional and at Lenten Morning Prayer.

Fasting - Join us as we participate in the tradition of fasting through Lent. Fasting is a choosing to take authority over ourselves and then turning to Lord, abstaining from something as a declaration of submission to him. We want to focus not simply on 'What can I give up this Lent?' but 'What can I give out this Lent?' Consider how what you've chosen to abstain from can lead you to being more generous and charitable in this season. Fast from food with us on the first Tuesday of March (the 7th) and of April (the 4th) and then join us for an evening of worship and breaking fast with communion. This will be at 7pm at St Pauls; 315 W 22nd St.

TRINITY GRACE CHURCH LENT DEVOTIONAL

In this devotional (download below), you will encounter the traditional themes of Lent: grief, repentance, death, and hope, resurrection, and rebirth, woven in with the TGC themes of loving God, and loving others. Each day is designed to draw you into these themes, and to engage you through a number of spiritual disciplines (scripture reading, prayer, journaling, fasting, stillness, worship, solitude, etc).

You may also notice the color violet (or purple) throughout this season. This is symbolic in two ways: it is the traditional color of mourning (recalling Jesus’ death) and also royalty (celebrating Christ’s coming as King).

May this devotional, and the content within it, bring you to a deeper union with Christ as we imitate him together.

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An automated system providing you the daily Lent Devotional content via text is being developed by parishioners from TGC Chelsea and TGC Williamsburg. If you are interested in signing up for this, simply text "hello" to (718) 502-9972 to get started.

•  Download PDF of Lent 2017•

SUNDAY LENTEN POETRY

Read 3/5/17

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO
HUNGER AND THIRST

Hungry, hungry are the people
The body knows it first
Crave apple
or arrival
or the touch of a hand.
The child, seeing light in a midnight crib, whispers:
“Tell me what you remember.
I’m afraid I already forget.”

I heard it said of Hades
That its trees grow lustrous fruit
And the sound of rivers gurgling
Call the thirsty
Eyes engorged by sight of
Dripping pulp
Lips parched from
many miles, no water
Lowering them to drink, to feast
Where cool water hoped to be
Salt brine and vinegar
Flow as from a crypt
And desperate fingers turning to the trees
Rip fruit that burn to ashes on their tongue.

Hungry, hungry are the people

I heard it said of Heav’n
Rather my soul sought
Visions
Of a green land,
               trees,
               white wind
               and peace.

All of us beloved, all fed
The pressure passing,
The pleasure freed,
Can we speak of this without pain?
Our eyes hide from the brightness of the
Piercing Son.
No black skin fearing break of steel
No pale hand clutching pale defense
All beloved, all fed
Imago Dei, at last.

Hungry, hungry are the people
And those of us between
The cry for Heav’n
And the fretful taste of Hell
See glimpses, each of us,
Take nightfall by the arm
Turn to morning.
Hungry, thirsty for righteousness
Too quick to trust a damning word
Too soon to draw our comfort from the lost
See heav’n in a woman’s face
Hell in a broken promise.
Satisfaction:
a word we do not understand
But seek it, as if engraved within us
By a hand we have forgotten
Not far off, not near
Enclosed
And waiting
for all to be beloved, all fed.

- M.J. Eden


Read 3/19/17

POEM FOR SUNDAY

In the beginning is an angel called pain,
and her work is a wounded heart.
You can call her hope, and she will answer.
You can call her need, or call her faith.
She has the names she likes,
but will bear all these, as the river bears rain.

Devils bear less than angels do; fickle,
capricious, much like you or I,
hasty for our blessings or for others’ ill;
hungry for the blaze of glory or of fame
or simply, its tangential warmth, 
as soft in imagining as our own names.

How many times ambition cries, tell them!
How many times in some mighty place - holy city,
pinnacle, temple, very high mountain,
rich land below - do we think,
I could be this city, our small “I” subsumed
or amplified, expanded, til our body covers
every billboard, every house of state, every tree,
every star, every law and mandate.
Every objection, every angel of pain.

We’ve made of right a narrow way, as it is written,
but again it is written that we may find
God in desert wandering, in a broad land
through which some ancient river cuts
but does not run, through which our devils come
and — lacing together our knowledge and our need —
bless our dark hearts, say yes, 
your body is this law, this star, this tree.

What may be proved is broken by the proving.
What may be mended the needle will pierce.
What may come to an end, swift ending will entrench.

For there are always angels behind devils,
always again it is written’s behind
the black scrawl that scars our hopes,
that bone-deep want that bloods our hands.
For pain loves us, her wound already in repair,
if only we could bear its work.

And behold — beyond, behind, before
and after — are angels,
four angels like four winds blown in
from North and South, East and West,
to steady the heart with their breath.

- Michaela Morton

Read 3/12/17

ON GENEROSITY

On our own, we conclude:
there is not enough to go around

we are going to run short
of money
of love
of grades
of publications
of sex
of beer
of members
of years
of life

we should seize the day
seize our goods
seize our neighbours goods
because there is not enough to go around

and in the midst of our perceived deficit
you come
you come giving bread in the wilderness
you come giving children at the 11th hour
you come giving homes to exiles
you come giving futures to the shut down
you come giving easter joy to the dead
you come – fleshed in Jesus.

and we watch while
the blind receive their sight
the lame walk
the lepers are cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead are raised
the poor dance and sing

we watch
and we take food we did not grow and
life we did not invent and
future that is gift and gift and gift and
families and neighbours who sustain us
when we did not deserve it.

It dawns on us – late rather than soon-
that you “give food in due season
you open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

By your giving, break our cycles of imagined scarcity
override our presumed deficits
quiet our anxieties of lack
transform our perceptual field to see
the abundance………mercy upon mercy
blessing upon blessing.

Sink your generosity deep into our lives
that your muchness may expose our false lack
that endlessly receiving we may endlessly give
so that the world may be made Easter new,
without greedy lack, but only wonder,
without coercive need but only love,
without destructive greed but only praise
without aggression and invasiveness….
all things Easter new…..
all around us, toward us and
by us

all things Easter new.

Finish your creation, in wonder, love and praise. Amen. 

- Walter Brueggemann


Read 3/26/17

A Catalog of Community:

It is the tick of fingernail on wood floor
    anchoring a melody with metronomic precision,
the rasp of bow on strings
    pouring out the anguish of the lyrics,
a voice unleashed in a small room
    while pen scratches paper,
vulnerabilities held gently
    celebrating truth. 

It is broken bread
    and empty bottles,
angry words
    and soft apologies
promises broken
    and kept,
desperation
    and healing comfort.

It is the smile breaking
    across a face
        when you enter the room
It is anger
     and sorrow
          and tears reddening eyes. 
It is unyielding challenge
     and welcome delight. 

It is the flaw reflected,
     and the beauty called forth,
the curious pursuit,
     and deep knowledge

Mostly it is a thousand small acts of turning

Towards. 

HOLY WEEK

Holy Week is the culmination of Lent where we follow Jesus through his triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, his humility and preparation on Maundy Thursday, his sacrifice on Good Friday, his waiting on Holy Saturday, and his rising on Easter. 

PALM SUNDAY

"They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!' And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, 'Who is this?' And the crowds said, 'This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.'”
- Matthew 21 : 7-11

MAUNDY THURSDAY

We invite you to take gather together in your homes with your friends and church family to imitate our Lord who gathered with his disciples in the upper room for their Last Supper. There he washed their feet, initiated the sacrament of Communion, and prepared himself for his work on the cross. We have a Maundy Thursday Table Liturgy available that leads you through the observance of this holy day. You can pick up a copy of this liturgy on the Communications Table on Sunday or download it here

GOOD FRIDAY

Good Friday marks the paradox of our faith. The community of God celebrate the funeral of God. Join us we commemorate the crucifixion of our Lord, remembering the great sufferings of Jesus for our sake. A Tenebrae service of music, Scripture, and contemplation will take place at St Pauls German Church, 315 W 22nd St., at 7 P.M.

HOLY SATURDAY

We will join with TGC Williamsburg to experience this time of waiting. More details to come.

EASTER SUNDAY

Experience the hope of the dawn that sunrise brings as we celebrate the Resurrection. Join us at 6 A.M. on the grass at Chelsea Piers for an Easter Sunrise service.

Celebrate the resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith. We gather on Easter to celebrate the victorious work of Jesus over sin and death. He is risen, He is risen indeed! Join us at 4:30 P.M. for our Easter service at St Pauls German Church.