Strength in Chaos: Lent 2023

Strength in Chaos: Lent 2023

It was I who fed you in the wilderness, in the land of drought” -Hosea 13:5

Our Lenten theme

The image of “Wilderness” rarely elicits positive thoughts. For many of us it is something to avoid, and if we must go through it then the point is to go through it as quickly as possible. But when God sends the Hebrew people or Jesus into the wilderness, it is for a time of holy preparation. Something powerful is happening in the chaos we are desperate to avoid. From now until Easter we’ll spend time on the practices that fuel us in the places where we don’t want to be. We’ll spend time in the wilderness, knowing that God is there with us, and there is…


Sanctuary Décor

Throughout the Bible – such as with Job who wonders why bad things happen to good people, and with Jonah who wonders why good things happen to bad people – the use of ashes and the donning of sackcloth is seen as signs of one’s repentance. The symbolic use of ashes in this sense continues as many Christians participate in Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. As a Christian community we also put on our sackcloth in the form of the three Lenten banners that hang by the western windows. Each sackcloth banner announces a Lenten theme, moving us through “reflection” to “sin” to “repentance,” or as the 1985 South Africa “Kairos Document” teaches us: SEE ->JUDGE -> ACT, each step moving us closer to the cross. Many of the words were painted on these banners by the youth and young adults in this congregation, but, like the empty niches above waiting for your saints, there is room left on these three banners for you to mentally inscribe your sins and the sins that confront you, how you reflect on them, and how you engage in acts of repentance for them. In this way, through these three Lenten banners, we communally wear our sackcloth in line with our biblical ancestors before God.

In the center of all this, the table remains. We will return to it each week, and you are welcome to bring plants, offerings, and signs of life to the table each week.

Lenten Schedule

Every Sunday – 10:30am CST worship service. In-person + online (“University Church Chicago” on Facebook or

Every Monday – “Godtalk” Bible Study – 7:30pm CST via Zoom (link on calendar on

Thursday, April 6, 6pm CST  MAUNDY THURSDAY service

Friday, April 7, 5pm CST – “7 LAST WORDS OF CHRIST” by Théodore Dubois (a musical journey through Good Friday)

Sunday, April 9 – EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE at Promontory Point (~6:30am, in-person only), and EASTER WORSHIP AT UCHURCH (10:30am CST, in-person and online)