Lent: Centering Ourselves in the Grace of God

Lent always seems to come at an opportunistic time for me. Just as my New Year’s Resolutions are starting to fizzle out, Lent steps in and serves as one more opportunity to finally turn my life around. Struggling to follow my resolution and eat healthier? Easy! No more sugar. Wanting to focus more on my passions? Great! I’ll just give up all screen time! Like others, I have fallen victim to this trap of setting lofty and often unrealistic expectations only to be disappointed in myself weeks later.

Besides often setting ourselves up to fail with these Lenten goals, maybe we’re missing the point entirely. Lent is proposed as a time of self-reflection. The period of Lent mirrors the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness. Jesus fasted for 40 days, all the while refusing temptation, but instead trusting in the grace of God to provide him with all his needs. Traditionally, we have seen this feat of self-denial and have decided that we could use this time to reflect on what temptations we could give up in our lives.

But why does it seem that self-reflection always leads to self-criticism? We thoroughly analyze our day-to-day lives to judge how we are failing. We’re indulging in our daily servings of sweets; we’re not reading as much non-fiction as the New York Times says we should; we’re spending too much time on social media. Is the value of Lent found in worrying about these trivial things? How could we repurpose Lent to reflect on why Jesus refused temptation, instead of focusing on what he was tempted by?

What if we used this period not to try and change everything that is wrong with us, but take the days of Lent to simply be? This may be the true challenge of Lent. Not a self-denial of worldly things, but taking the time to cut out the distractions and fill ourselves with the immensity of God. Instead of dwelling in our ineptitudes, let us simply dwell in the grace that God has granted us. God’s grace is not earned through acts of self-denial or repentance. It is simply given to us because we exist. We can wake up each morning knowing that we are loved by God, and let that knowledge guide our day-to-day actions. Let us be thankful for those in our lives, and treat them with the love and kindness that God has shown us. Let us repurpose Lent to be a time of self-love, graciousness, and centering ourselves in the grace of God.

– Chase Claflin, High School Youth Staff

Cathedral Choir Trip to Chicago

The Cathedral Choir will be taking a trip to Chicago 4/20-4/22. They will be singing on Sunday morning at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, IL. While on the trip, the choir will visit the Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier, Michigan Avenue, and also go on a boat tour.It will be a wonderful time! If you are attending the Cathedral Choir trip, please remember your final payment is due 4/1.

Payments: Gina DeNucci ginad@mtolivet.org
West contact: Jeff Larson jeffl@mtolivet.org
Livia’s salt fundraiser: Chase Claflin cclaflin@mtolivet.org
All other questions: Billy Johnson williamj@mtolivet.org OR
Dr. Claflin beverlyc@mtolivet.org

Benefits of Going to Cathedral of the Pines Camp in Middle School

This year, there will be three 7th-grade and 8th-grade weeks at Cathedral of the Pines Camp! Another week has been added because going to summer camp during middle school years is extremely beneficial and it is important to give this opportunity to more youth in our community. Below are some of the benefits ...

  • Build Relationships and Expand Social Skills: Campers spend quality time together throughout the day and are continually encouraged to branch out and meet new people while strengthing existing relationships. Time and time again we hear from campers how wonderful it is that we don’t allow electronics at camp. They say it’s a great break from constantly being plugged in and gives them the opportunity to get to know the people they are surrounded by without being interrupted.
  • Gain Independence in a Safe Environment: The camp staff as well as the counselors are there to help make camp extremely safe and enjoyable for every camper. With this support in place, campers have many choices they get to make for themselves throughout the day which gives them responsibility and independence.
  • Broaden Passions through Activities: The environment around camp is always encouraging which makes people feel comfortable trying new things. With this it is great to see campers spending time each day doing activities that don’t normally fill their schedules outside of camp. These activities give them the chance to develop new hobbies and see gifts they didn’t even know they had.
  • Development of Faith: Cathedral of the Pines is rooted in faith and we are intentionally reminded of that each day. Campers will attend chapel and participate in devotions and class to develop their beliefs, share their thoughts, and ask questions to help both themselves and their peers grow.

These are just a few of the ways Cathedral of the Pines benefits
7th-graders and 8th-graders. Help spread the word about Cathedral of the Pines Camp to both your member and non-member friends. See registration information below.

7th-Grade & 8th-Grade Weeks

June 22-28, Friday-Thursday
July 5-10, Thursday-Tuesday
July 24-30, Tuesday-Monday

NEW Cathedral of the Pines Camp Online Registration

Registration for the 2018 camping season is ONLY online.  Non-Member registration begins Sa 3/3