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Lenten series looks at practical, spiritual

New Beginnings Moravian Church’s 2015 Lenten study series will cover everything from healthy eating to the value of solitude.

The six-week series is based on Dallas Willard’s book, “The Spirit of the Disciplines,” and it will connect the spiritual with the practical in teaching how to live as Jesus Christ did.

“The observance of Lent in general is a way for Christians to take a fresh look at their spirituality and their faith journey,” said the Rev. Chris Thore, pastor of New Beginnings in Huntersville.

People who observe the Lenten season often talk about what they are going to give up for Lent, whether it’s chocolate or spending time on Facebook.

The idea behind that premise is that abstinence from something frees space in the mind to think about other things, Thore said. A related discipline is to engage in something, such as increased volunteer work, during Lent.

The six sessions of New Beginning’s Lenten study will look at disciplines of abstinence or engagement, each featuring a speaker. Several speakers are New Beginnings church members and others are professionals in the area.

The series will open at 7 p.m. on Feb. 18 with an Ash Wednesday service followed by a discussion of the discipline of sacrifice.

The group will meet every Wednesday evening during Lent. On Feb. 26, Beth Brittain, a chaplain and grief counselor, will talk about the role of solitude and silence in dealing with end of life issues.

Kristin Davis, the family and consumer sciences agent with N.C. State University’s Cooperative Extension Service in Mecklenburg County, will talk about the discipline of fasting in terms of making healthy food choices on March 4.

Later in March, sessions will cover celebration of human relationships and worship through learning about three church members’ recent trip to the Holy Land.

“They are going to show pictures and experiences of some of the most holy sites for Christians,” Thore said. “By seeing them and hearing their stories, we are engaging in a form of worship.”

The series will wrap up on March 25 with writer Maureen Ryan Griffin, who will lead the group on journaling exercises and talk about how to write down significant events and issues as part of the discipline of confession.

“We’re looking at a broader understanding of confession in just saying, ‘This is what is on my heart,’” Thore said. “It could be something that’s troubling them or something very joyful.”