Observing Lent at Cary Presbyterian

As the season of Lent draws near, our community of faith offers a variety of ways to pursue a deeper connection with God, others, and self. Worship and faith formation offerings are inspired by resources from the amazing folks at A Sanctified Art entitled "Wandering Heart: Figuring Out Faith With Peter." Along with the various gatherings listed below, we hope that these at-home resources will be helpful as well.

Lenten Devotional (click for online version)

This amazing resource contains scripture, commentary, poetry, visual art, and written reflections.

Daily Devotional Cards

These simple and easy to use daily devotional cards include a reminder/affirmation for building a daily rhythm of prayer.

Seeking Spotify Playlist (click to listen)

This playlist, curated by A Sanctified Art, covers a wide range of genres, themes, and musical styles. May this serve as the soundtrack for your Lenten season.

Printed copies of the Lenten Devotional and Prayer Cards are available in the Narthex.

Stay connected with the CPC App (click to download)

Throughout the season of Lent, we will post devotionals, prayers, commentary, poetry, and art connected to the Wandering resources.

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Ash Wednesday

Worship Service

February 14th

7:00 PM

In-Person and Online

Adult Faith Formation Classes

Pastor's Class: I Believe

(Sunday, 9:15-10:15 AM, starting February 18, Fellowship Hall)

Each Lord’s Day we stand in our worship service and answer some portion of the question, “What do we believe?”

For Presbyterians this question is partially answered by the confessions, creeds, and catechisms included in our Book of Confessions. We are a confessional tradition which means we see the value in declaring what we believe. We have enough humility to know that we never get our declarations about God entirely right — so while we see the value of confessing faith, we also know that our creeds, etc. are always in need of revision and reconsideration.

The pastor’s class will work our way through the Book of Confessions  considering the historical situation which created the declaration of faith, and also wondering how these might inform our own faith today.

Pause: Spending Lent with the Psalms by Elizabeth Caldwell.

Lent is an ideal time to step back and reflect on the deeper movements of the spirit, and Elizabeth Caldwell helps readers do this through a simple but profound approach. Pause: Spending Lent with the Psalms invites us to take up the spiritual practice of encountering, sinking into, and deeply engaging with one psalm each week during Lent and Holy Week. There are two opportunities each week to engage with this material.

Parlor Class

(Sundays, 9:15-10:15 AM, starting February 18, Parlor)

Join us for a cup of coffee and conversation about the week's reading on the Psalms.

Weekday Virtual Class

(Tuesdays, 7:30-8:30 PM, starting February 20, via Zoom)

Retired Pastor Matthew Swora will lead this weekly exploration of the week's Psalm and spiritual practice.

Join Virtual Class Via Zoom

Opportunities for Children

Sunday Morning Classes (9:30-10:20 AM)

Regular Sunday morning classes for preschoolers and children will use materials from A Sanctified Art “Wandering: Figuring Out Faith with Peter”following along with the weekly themes for worship. The lessons include variety of ways to connect: telling the story with visual and tangible materials, providing space for curiosity and wonder, and engaging further through crafts and games. 

Children's Time During Worship

This time will also connect the children to the Wandering weekly themes and will include Bible stories and children’s books. Children’s bulletins will also be available. 

Psalms of Wonder by Carey Wallace and Khoa Le

All families will receive a copy of this book to engage with the Psalms at home with their children. Partnering with Flyaway Books, the Office of Christian Formation of the PCUSA provided 414 churches with book bundles and CPC was a recipient of one of the bundles. A copy will also be available in the CPC library.

Spiritual Practices

Wandering Art Installation

Visio Divina, Latin for “divine seeing,” is a method of meditation, reflection, and prayer through a process of intentional seeing. We invite you to engage with pieces of art by various artists provided by A Sanctified Art. These will be displayed in worship, and will remain in the Sanctuary/Narthex, along with Artist Statements that provide theological reflections on their process creating these works. They can also be found in the Seeking Lenten Devotional.

Labyrinth Walking

As the days grow longer and warmer, we invite you to walk the outdoor labyrinth on the church grounds. During Holy Week, the indoor labyrinth will also be available in the Fellowship Hall.

Holy Week Services

Palm Sunday - March 24, 10:30 a.m.

One of the largest festivals in ancient Israel was the festival of the coronation of the king.   From outside the city the king-to-be-crowned would ride a donkey up the eastern approach-road toward Jerusalem, the centerpiece in a parade that included musicians, chanters, bearers of royal artifacts, and marching soldiers.  Great crowds would line the road to witness the parade and acclaim the coming coronation.  Many in the crowd would place leafy branches on the parade route as a “red carpet” for the king to travel.  Entering the east gate of Jerusalem, the parade would proceed to the Jerusalem Temple where the high priest would, in the name of God, perform the coronation.  The king would then ascend his throne and be lifted up before all the people.

Palm Sunday was a play on this event, but with significant differences.  The king-to-be-crowned rode a donkey into the city, but the great crowd probably numbered fewer than 12.  He would be crowned at the Temple, but his crown would be a crown of thorns.  He would be lifted up before the people, but on a cross, not a throne.  His kingdom would not be the kingdom of Israel, but the Kingdom of God.  Worshiping on Palm Sunday, we travel with Jesus toward his coronation, which is the cross.

Maundy Thursday - March 28, 7:00 p.m.

Mandatum novum do vobis, the first words of an anthem sung in earliest times in Roman Catholic churches, means “A new commandment I give to you.”  The word “maundy” comes from the Latin “mandatum,” to mandate or command.  It was on this Thursday night that Christ and the disciples observed Passover and ate together for the last time.  It was also then that Christ washed the feet of the disciples and gave them a new commandment, to love one another as he had loved them.  To take part in a communion service on the Thursday before Easter is to remember Christ’s last supper with his disciples and that new commandment, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

At the conclusion of this service, the sanctuary is stripped of all adornments and remains bare until the Easter Vigil, when the process is reversed and the worship space is “dressed” again.  The stark, bare unadorned church now reflects Jesus’ abandonment during the night in Gethsemane.  The visual aspect of the transformed worship space gives us a dramatic depiction of Christ’s desolation.  Symbolically, Jesus, stripped of his power and glory, is now in the hands of his captors.

Good Friday Tenebrae Service - March 29, 7:00 p.m.

Tenebrae means darkness, shadows.  This is the time we recall the passion of our Lord, the pain, the suffering and the grief which he bore for our sake.  It is through the cross that our freedom was gained by Christ.  We light candles which symbolize the last hours, or shadows of Christ’s life.  As each candle is extinguished, we walk with Christ on his journey to the Cross until finally, only the Christ Candle remains.  Finally, that candle too, will be extinguished symbolizing our Lord’s death on the cross.  As the bell tolls for each year of Christ’s life, we wait in silence and remember.  Following the service, we depart in silence and in darkness until we return to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord from the power of sin and death.