Lenten Study: A Cure For Those Winter Doldrums?

It seems like only yesterday that we were engaged in the celebration of Christmas.  Last week, as I took a prayer walk in the Greenbrier Neighborhood, I noticed reminders of that celebration are still present.  Many houses have not been able to take down their Christmas decorations which now, having been battered by rain, snow and wind have taken on a sad if not eerie quality.  Smiling snowmen with their holiday wishes look out with sad eyes that seem to say, “it’s over isn’t it?”

I think that many of us find our faith life enter into a post-Christmas lull .  We put all we can into celebrating the religious and secular aspects of Christmas and then find that our spiritual energy has been used up.  This is a challenge for everyone who lives out life as a Christian.  What do we do when the celebration is over and all that is left is a few decorations and a waning feeling of joy.

As those who follow the liturgical calendar we are rapidly approaching Lent and Easter.  Lent is an especially powerful time to develop ways to strengthen our spiritual life.  Lent has always been an opportunity for the followers of Christ to step back and reflect on how their lives are reflecting God’s glory and love. 

This year members and friends of Christ Presbyterian Church are invited to participate in a small group study intended to help develop ways to express your faith in your daily life.  Continuing our  successful study of The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, we will be using Robert Schnase’s sister volume, Five Practices of Fruitful Living.  I am especially excited about this study because it’s not focused on making the church better per se.  Rather than focusing on how to live out the Christian life in the church this application of the Five Practices

focuses on how they can be expressed in the individual believer’s life.

I think that this study is a wonderful next step in the development of small groups at Christ Presbyterian Church.  Intentional faith development through the use of small groups was identified by our previous small groups as a priority.  The session has charged me with making the development and support of small groups a top priority this year.  I hope that each of you will consider making time in your busy schedules to be part of this five week study.  We will need facilitators to help lead these groups and Schnase has developed a very clear and easy study guide for the book. 

The development of small groups offers great opportunities for our congregation.  At Christ Presbyterian Church we pride ourselves on being a family.  To me, this means that we know each other in ways that you might not be able to in other congregations.  As we experience the blessing of numerical growth, one way to ensure that these critical connections are maintained is by forming deeper relationships.  In small groups you will be able to get to know others at a different level.  This will help maintain the joy of our close fellowship while allowing it to experience healthy growth both numerically  and spiritually.

In a previous post on the homepage of Views form the Roof or on www.cpcfairfax.org you will find a banner with a button to click that will take you to a survey about your participation in a small group.  Simply click register.  This survey is important not only so we know how many people would like to participate but it will also give us the information we need to make sure we afford everyone the best opportunity to participate within the restraints of their schedule. 

I personally pray that we have a large majority of our congregation participating in this years study.  Over the past few years we have seen that when we unite our Spirits in common study we find a joy and spiritual direction.  Please join us on this wonderful spiritual journey.