“Faith opens all the windows to God’s wind.”—George MacDonald
Open Window is a 46-day communal engagement of the Lenten themes of repentance, celebration, anticipation, and hope. It is a grace-centered approach that says “yes" to God’s invitation to intimacy with him by intentionally creating faith margins in our lives that, as George MacDonald writes, “opens windows to God’s wind.”
We will do this by engaging the contemplative practices of silence, solitude, and prayer in ways that integrate with the complex realities of everyday life. While Open Window involves sincere intention and commitment, it is not a teeth-gritting, vein-popping moral dead lift nor a 46-day plan to make a “better version” of ourselves. It is a grace-centered, restful way of learning to say “yes” to God’s open invitation by cultivating a greater awareness of his love and leadership in our lives. The spiritual practices of silence, solitude, and prayer are engaged as a means of creating space in our day to “stop, look and listen” to the movements of God in and around us. In other words, we don’t create the wind. We simply put ourselves in its path.
Though this journey is structured to reflect the easy nature of Jesus’ yoke (Mt 11:28- 30), it is important to “count the cost” (Lk 14:28-30) before deciding to participate as it will require commitment and sincere intention. At the end of Open Window, one evaluates the benefits, reintroduces habits and patterns suspended for a season, and weighs the benefits of adopting healthier ways to live in the longer term.
Below is a basic rundown of structure, commitments and time requirements.
Season of Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday (Feb 14) and ending on Easter Sunday (April 1)
You will only need a copy of The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle, which include the daily prayers you will be engaging for the duration of Lent ($12.99 on Kindle, $14.77 new, cheaper used). There is an additional $25 participation fee that covers food and additional materials.
ReadingWeekly reading will be minimal, consisting of excerpts from The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen and Finding Sanctuary by Abbot Christopher Jamison. Additional resources will be suggested for those interested in further study.
Location will be in the Fellowship Hall downstairs at Saint Patrick’s.
- Ash Wednesday service and dinner following. This is the official “kickoff” of Open Window. It is a time of celebrating and commissioning.
- Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter services (Mar 29, 30, and April 1).
- Weekly gatherings (Sundays, 5:30-7:30pm beginning Feburary 18) for dinner and dialogue around the topics of silence, solitude, and prayer. *
- Praying the morning and midday liturgy from the Daily Hours each day for the duration of the Lenten season. We will pray the Vespers office together as a group each time we meet.
- Adopting a Lenten fast.
* The March 25 gathering will consist of a Seder meal facilitated by Deirdre Brouer, associate Hebrew instructor at Denver Seminary.
Childcare will be available at a cost of $5.00 per family each time we gather. Childcare during Lent services is free. Kids can have soup from our meal or parents can make other arrangements.
Meals are the highlight of Open Window and will consist of soup, bread, wine and honey.
Signup deadline is Wednesday, Feb 7.
Optional Silence and Solitude Day Retreat
A guided silence and solitude day retreat at the Abbey of Saint Walburga in Virginia Dale, CO will be available for Open Window participants on Friday, March 16, 7:00am-7:00pm (including travel). Due to the busy Lenten season at the abbey, only five slots are available on a first come/first serve basis.
Cost is $20, which includes lunch and a very nice private room with bed, desk, reading chair, and bathroom. Feel free to visit www.walburga.org for more information on the abbey.
Lastly, it is important to state this is NOT an exercise in perfection. All of us will falter in these commitments from time to time. But it is equally important to enter it with sincere, grace-dependent intention. It is also simply an INVITATION, and the healthiest invitations are the ones in which we feel the unconditional freedom to accept or reject.
In the meantime, please know I am praying for every one of you, that God would grant you clear direction as you consider participating in this venture. Above all, I am praying that he would fill you with the knowledge of his delight in you as his Beloved.
To sign up, email email@example.com
WITH you and FOR you,