Originally posted March 10, 2014, at City Called Heaven. Republished with permission of the author.

This Lent St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Jersey City is using the theme of “Turning” as a key to the season. Using words from Ecclesiastes, set by Pete Seeger, the congregation sings “Turn, turn, turn” before the service in a time for healing prayer. The concept is used in cards, which serve both as devotional and publicity about Lenten events.

Lent is a season of turning –
Turning from what is hurtful and
     toward what is healing
Turning from what is shattered and
     toward what is whole
Re-turning to the Lord
Wishing you a holy and blessed Lent.

The same theme is used throughout a eucharistic prayer written for the season.

Holy one, great God of judgment and mercy, we give thanks to you through your beloved son, Jesus Christ.

From earliest days, you turned toward your creation, bringing light from darkness, firm ground from the deep, life from the dust.

Adam and Eve turned from the garden to toil and struggle. Abraham and Sarah turned from a life of wandering to the land that you showed them. Your people Israel turned from captivity to cry unto you, and you delivered them from captivity. And in the wilderness Jesus turned away from the tempter and toward his proclamation of the heavenly kingdom.

You ordained for everything a season, a time to break down, and a time to build up, a time to keep, and a time to put aside. Let this now be a time of healing, a time of justice, a time of reconciliation and peace.

On the night in which he turned to his friends, our Lord Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples and said, “Take; eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he also took the cup after the supper, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them saying, “Drink of it, all of you. This cup is the New Covenant in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Remembering, therefore, Christ’s turn toward the world, his journey to the cross, and his resurrection from the dead, we turn toward you in the gifts of bread and wine, signs of your mercy and balm for our souls.

Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

Send now, we pray, your Holy Spirit, that these gifts may be healing and redemption for us and for your world, the turning toward a new day of righteousness.

Amen. Come Holy Spirit.

And now, may all creation turn toward you, seeking your mercy and trusting in your word, that we may share in your glory with all the saints in light.

Paul Bellan-Boyer
Find a link to Paul Bellan-Boyer’s blog City Called Heaven at Lutheran Blogs.

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