Lent is coming

#UULent is designed to be used individually, as a family, or as a congregation. For each day in Lent a word has been selected. Each day participants are invited to reflect on the meaning of the day’s word, then create a photograph that represents the word, idea, practice, or concept and post it here and/or elsewhere.

Beginning on Ash Wednesday and for each day until Easter, the word for the day and a related quote will be posted. Reflect and engage throughout the day, checking for the word and quote in the morning, then come back later in the day to add your photo* and to see the images and words others have shared throughout the day (*YOUR photo – please respect copyright!).

May this intentional practice and discipline impact your daily life in ways that bring you closer to your spiritual core and offer you resiliency for life.

Here at West Fork Unitarian Universalists we will strive to post a reflection each day on the word of the day. We look forward to journeying through this season of contemplation with you.


Lent 2018 – Day 8 – Comfort

Warmth in Winter

Now has come hard winter,
With whip of wind and slash of snow
and the diamond-bright stars in the black ice of the heavens.
Just as we resist the season with shovel and scraper, wool and windbreaker,
we embrace it with sled and snowboard, cocoa and comforter.
Winter is here: let us find warmth in this time of being together.


As REM said, “Everybody hurts”

But what do we do about it? What do we need? Comfort would be the answer.

Merriam Webster defines Comfort:

1: to give strength and hope tocheer

2to ease the grief or trouble ofconsole
We come to church to find comfort in the fellowship and spirit. We need to bathe in warmth and love. Comfort is necessary to help us keep moving towards all of our goals. We are making ourselves strong for another day when we allow ourselves to be comforted. We are making others strong when we comfort them. 
In the reading, “Comfort Ye My People” Barbara Rohde reflects on comfort in all its forms.


Lent 2018 – Day 7 – Power

What is power? Who has power? What does it mean to be in a place of power or position of power? These questions are coming up more often and for many, it has become part of a spiritual practice to answer them.

But there are many kinds of power.

Matthew Johnson wrote For Five Thousand Years or More about spiritual power.

There is natural power like the falls in the picture for this post.

So, how can we best use our power? How can we find our power?



Lent 2018 – Day 6 – Prayer

What is prayer? According to Wikipedia, “Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication. Prayer can be a form of religious practice, may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private.” Prayer is seen as definitively religious. Prayer can be healing. Prayer can be a destination for our thoughts. There are as many ways to prayers as there are people who pray.

Beliefnet collected The Essential Prayers of World Religions. They are the Refuge Prayer from Buddhism, the Lord’s Prayer from Christianity, the Faitha from Islam, the Gayatri Mantra from Hinduism, and the Shema from Judaism.

Some people sing. Some people use prayer beads. Some color mandalas. Some pray out loud. Some pray silently.

“The Atheist Prays” by Barbara J. Pescan wrestles with the questions about praying when you are unsure if anyone is listening.
I am going to leave you with a song from Kesha’s new album.


Peace and Prayers,


Lent 2018 – Day 5 – Mercy

Mercy is defined in the dictionary as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

What does Mercy mean to you? Is mercy something we do? Is mercy just for the Divine?

Here is some beautiful music to listen to while thinking about mercy.

Seeking Mercy, Seeking a Home by Erika Hewitt

May we learn mercy. May we breathe it in ourselves and breathe it out for others.



Lent 2018 – Day 4 – Pain

Pain is hard to sit with. We always want to make it go away. What happens when we focus on the pain instead of focusing on what we will do when the pain is gone?

According to this article’ “Biblical Laments: Prayer out of Pain” lamentations are necessary for spiritual growth. What are lamentations? Here is their definition: ”

Lamentation, a prayer for help coming out of pain, is very common in the Bible. Over one third (50 or so) of the psalms are laments. Lament frequently occurs in the Book of Job: “Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?” (Job 3:11). The prophets likewise cry out to God, such as Jeremiah does: “Why is my pain continuous, my wound incurable…?” (15:18) and Habakkuk: “…my legs tremble beneath me. I await the day of distress that will come upon the people who attack us” (3:16).

One whole book, Lamentations, expresses the confusion and suffering felt after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.”

I believe the words of pain are important because they keep us grounded and allow us to feel.

In the Hebrew Bible the book of Lamentations is full of pain. Here are some words from chapter 3:

” 1 I am the man who has seen affliction
by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.
2 He has driven me away and made me walk
in darkness rather than light;
3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.

4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
and has broken my bones.
5 He has besieged me and surrounded me
with bitterness and hardship.
6 He has made me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.

7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
he has weighed me down with chains.
8 Even when I call out or cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer.

And yet, several verses later in the same chapter it is said,

“28 Let him sit alone in silence,
for the Lord has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.

31 For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone.

Pain leads to prayer. Pain leads to finding a problem. Sitting with our pain can helps us find out where it comes from.

I will leave you with a quote from Brené Brown,

“I went back to church thinking that it would be like an epidural, like it would take the pain away… that church would make the pain go away. Faith and church was not an epidural for me at all; it was like a midwife who just stood next to me saying, ‘Push. It’s supposed to hurt a little bit.'”



Lent 2018 – Day 3 – Recovery

Recovery can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but at the heart of it all recovery is about healing and returning to a state of “normalcy”. We often try to rush recovery. We don’t often celebrate it for what it is. We don’t always give it the chance to transform us.

This opinion piece from The New York Times by Firoozeh Dumas is about how recovering from surgery in Germany is different from recovery in the United States.

Sometimes recover can be hard and uncomfortable but we need that pain to help us see what’s wrong and to correct or move past it.

Today’s Prayer

May we hold space for recovery in our lives and the lives of others. May we understand that it is not an overnight process. May we sit with discomfort. May we accept the transformation recovery has to offer.



Picture Credit: Rosalie Stroesser in the New York Times