University Church is inviting you this season to be present in the clutter of your life – both real and spiritual – to examine, reflect, re-purpose, and maybe even throw away some things. Some things need tossing, and some things just need our attention again. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness and came out ready to work. Let us use this season to do the same.

It’s CLEAN UP time. Let’s work.

EVENTS

Worship each Sunday @ 10:30am
Bible Study each Sunday @ 9:30am
February 14th  
ASH WEDNESDAY service – 6pm
March 29th
MAUNDY THURSDAY service – 6pm
March 30th
GOOD FRIDAY – 7 LAST WORDS – 5pm
presented by students from University of Chicago, CTS, LSTC, and McCormick seminaries
April 1st
EASTER – SUNRISE SERVICE – 6:30am (Promontory Point)
Regular Worship at 10:30am – University Church

THE JOURNEY EACH WEEK

Week 1 – Physical JUNK

Do you have that junk drawer that you keep adding to? Do you have clothes in your closet/dresser that desperately needs to be organized? Do you have items that you need to get rid of? Are you a hoarder? This week let us journey to those places and remove the junk.

Prayer for the week: Show me the physical areas in my life that need attending to. As I remove the junk from these physical places, let my soul rejoice in the order that is now in my life. Amen.

Week 2 –  Relationship JUNK

Are there some relationships that aren’t healthy in your lives? Are there some relationships that you need to be more faithful and consistent in? Do you have a list of people that you need to call and reach out to? This week, let us take the journey to making all our relationships healthier by removing the junk that hinders them.

Prayer for the week: Help me to evaluate the relationships that I have in my life. Be my counselor for you are the creator of community. You call us into relationships for different times and seasons. If it is time for junky relationships to end, or if it is time for me realize the value of neglected relationships, give me the wisdom and strength to pursue these with every ounce of energy I have. Amen.

Week 3 – Technology JUNK

How often do we find ourselves on our phones, social media, televisions? How often do we say we need to disconnect for just a little while so we can notice the world around us through our eyes instead of through the screen? This week, let us find times when we can disconnect. Here are some examples:

No social media all week?

No phone calls after/before a certain time

Read a book instead of watching tv in the morning or at night

Or if you do not struggle with technology, then your task is to find ways in which technology can make your life easier. Whether it is using the calendar on your phone, computer, etc. Maybe you need to organize your email or your contacts in your devices.  Organize the apps on your phone. Download photos on your phone onto a drive, upload into the cloud. Find ways to get rid of all the paper in your life through technology. Scan the boxes of records that we store forever and ever.

Daily Tasks:

Mindful Monday – find a devotion or scripture to take you through the week.

Time out Tuesday – take time to do something that you have put off for a while.

Worship Wednesday – find/write a song, poem, journal or create a dance that will encourage you through this journey through junk.

Thankful Thursday – take the time to reflect on the junk you have dealt with since this journey through junk began.

Freedom Friday – take the time to pray and release any anxiety, worry or fear.

Straighten Up Saturday – Last chance to deal with the technology junk in your life.

Week 4 – Heart JUNK

The journey this week can be difficult for most, but it is a work that we must do. Many hearts are damaged and hurting. This week we will journey into our hearts and answer some questions (in a packet that will be provided) that might be difficult. The purpose of the journey is to remove the junk in our hearts so that our hearts will be free. If you need prayer this week, or to have a listening ear, reach out to our pastoral staff and we will talk and pray with you.

Prayer for the week: Hold my heart in your hands and protect it. As I go through this journey that addresses the matters of my heart… comfort me, encourage me and push me through the tough moments. Help me to love and forgive like you. Make my heart whole and remove the junk forever more.

Week 5 – Opportunity JUNK

Do you have a lot of ideas that need you need to work on? Do you have projects that you need to start? Goals you need to achieve? Do you have too much on your plate? This week let us de-junk our plates. Let us examine our goals and create plans for reaching them. Plans that we will pray over and faithfully follow. If there is a lot that we want to do, let’s prioritize and start checking these goals off our lists.

Prayer for the week: You know the thoughts that you have toward us. You have given us dreams and visions. Help us to prioritize and organize the visions you have given us. Let us experience freedom as we strive to reach our goals and remove the junk that keeps us unfocused.

Week 6 – Body JUNK

Do you feel as if you need to have better eating habits? Well this week lets journey to the junk that we put in our body. This is not a journey to lose weight or change our physical appearance, but rather a journey to obtain more energy within our bodies. Let’s give our bodies the hydration, vitamins and nutrients that it requires. Let us choose healthier alternatives this week. Maybe it is eating less junk. Maybe it is working out and sweating out junk, etc. Whatever junk we need to get rid of in order to have a healthier body, let us take that journey this week.

Daily Tasks:

Mindful Monday – find a devotion or scripture to take you through the week.

Time out Tuesday – take time to do something that you have put off for a while.

Worship Wednesday – find/write a song, poem, journal or create a dance that will encourage you through this journey through junk.

Thankful Thursday – take the time to reflect on the junk you have dealt with since this journey through junk began.

Freedom Friday – take the time to pray and release any anxiety, worry or fear.

Straighten Up Saturday – Last chance to deal with the technology junk in your life.

 

Ashes, Sackcloth, & “Junk”: designing our sanctuary for Lent

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 today as many Christians, many of us, had ashes imposed on our foreheads in the sign of the cross during 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 theologians of the 1985 South Africa “Kairos Document” teaches us: see-judge-act. 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.

The traditional table certainly seems more cluttered as well, as we examine the clutter in our own lives. Most would call it “junk,” and some of it surely is, but many more pieces of our lives are quite important and neglected – they become junk. As Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, so too will we spend precious time with ourselves. With our “Junk.” Bring some to add to the altar, and let this space, along with the music, carry you to a place of deep reflection. Allow that insight to transform you.